Suffering!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body (Romans 8:22,23 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to be prepared to suffer.

Dear friend, suffering is rampant—violence, sickness, injustice, cruelty, et cetera. Eventually, people get overloaded with burdens and sorrow, thus resorting to drugs, alcohol, and (sadly) even suicide, to cope.

Suffering has three sources. Firstly, we have the curse of sin: no matter what we do, we live in a fallen creation. Thus, disease, physical limitations, and death plague us. Short of the Lord’s coming for His children, they too will hurt, grow old, and die. Contrary to popular belief, Christians do suffer physical difficulties and corporeal pain—we are not guaranteed physical healing until the Rapture (today’s Scripture)! Secondly, our mistakes result in suffering. Whether deliberately or inadvertently, those poor decisions lead to terrible consequences. Someone will make a poor choice today and it will negatively affect you. You will make a mistake today and hurt someone.

Thirdly, there is the special (rare) suffering found in 2 Timothy 3:12: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (Acts 14:22 reads in part, “…we must [!] through much [!] tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”) This applies exclusively to Christians. Since we are in “enemy territory”—living as Satan’s evil world system operates—we will encounter resistance. Various degrees of persecution will follow us. The more we yield our lives to the Holy Spirit working in us, the more contrary we become to Satan’s policy of evil. If Satan cannot entice us to change the sound Bible doctrine we preach and teach, then he will intimidate us into silence (loved ones mistreating/shunning us, enemies trying to harm/kill us, governments trying to oppress/imprison us).

However, in the context of today’s Scripture, we learn: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (verse 18). No matter how much we suffer here, dear saints, the eternal glory awaiting us is infinitesimally greater!