Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God, commit the
keeping of their souls to Him in well doing as unto a faithful creator.
(I Peter 4:19)
We talked of listening for God last week, but what happens when you listen, you pray, you are fairly sure of the direction you need to go, yet you are met with hardship? If you are doing it right, and walking the path, then why is it hard. Did you misunderstand? Did you miss the mark? Why does God do this to people? Does he do this to people? Basically, you ask….what’s up with that??
Tragically when people are faced with adversity while following the path of the Lord, instead of trying to understand it, they simply give up. IN John 6 we read:
58This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever." 59He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. 60On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" 61Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, "Does this offend you? 62What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. 64Yet there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him." 66From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
So if the people of Christ’s time were willing to ditch on him, you can bet that plenty of people today are ready to run at the first sign of trouble. Resist the temptation to become on of the fleeing masses. Stop and take a look at just what might be the cause of the suffering. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples:
Fist, the people around you can bring about quite a bit of suffering. If you remember that story of Joseph, you will remember that he was sold by his own brothers into slavery……His own brothers. Then he was imprisoned, and abandoned by the cup bearer, and the king’s wife. He was left to rot. Talk about suffering. Yet Joseph did not wallow in his suffering. Even though it was not brought about by his own doing. Look what he told his brothers, many years later, (Genesis 45:4,7) 4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, "Come close to me." When they had done so, he said, "I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
This example shows that God will use even tough time, times of struggle, times that you have suffered by no fault of your own, for the good of not just you , but for the good of those around you.
Tomorrow I will take a look at how circumstances, the devil, and your own sin can play into your suffering. We will also take a look at how we should view suffering. As well as why we should expect it, and what positive effects it can have on our lives......yes I said positive!