Facing Difficulties

March 14, 2013

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Many times we hear statements like “Come to Jesus and all your problems will go away.” We are always facing difficulties of some sort. What attitude should we strive to embrace in the midst of trial?

People might believe that, but their lives have not changed. This results in many of the new believers leaving the church as fast as they entered.

We in North America often assume that as things in get worse, it is a sign that Christ is returning soon. We don’t consider the rest of the world has been suffering for years. What does the Bible say about suffering?

Suffering begins all the way back in Genesis. When sin entered the world in Genesis 3, God’s creation ceased to be perfect. Things were no longer as God created them. We still live on a broken planet today.

The same event that caused sin to enter the world, launched God’s plan of redemption. A Messiah would come to reverse the curse. Through the generations, the tradition of this Messiah morphed into being a conquering king and political leader.

When Jesus came as a suffering servant, the Jews missed out of the Messiah. He was not what they expected. They wondered how could the Messiah suffer? Mark 10:45 says, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus was not the picture they were expecting of a Messiah.

Jesus went so far as to tell us to expect suffering as a part of our lives. Rather than avoid this, the attitude which Scripture promotes is one of endurance. The epistle to the Hebrews is our best example of this. Read it as the author shows the Hebrews that Jesus is superior to all elements of their old life (Judaism).

As we endure, we hope in this same fact. We also trust in the character of God. While God does not necessarily cause suffering, He promises to work for our benefit in it. (Rom 8:28)

Job is our greatest example of endurance in suffering. Many times his friends tell him that his sin is to blame for the suffering or that he should “curse God and die”. Job, though he goes through some ups and downs, is a picture of endurance in the midst of difficulty.

There is a very famous passage in Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” We highlight this for the promise. However , the promise required them to go through 70 years of captivity (Jer. 29:10). To get to the good future, they needed to endure seventy years of suffering.

Throughout both the Bible and history people, are suffering for their faith.. Perhaps we need to change our goal from removing the difficulty to enduring through it to see the good God has for us.

Application:

  • Think of a time that you wanted God to remove a trial, but He did not and you went through it. Remember the “good” lesson that you learned as a result of that. Imagine if God had removed the “suffering”, you would not have see that area of growth or good in your life
  • Even in small things, lets start changing our prayers. Instead of asking God to remove the suffering, lets begin to ask Him to help us endure through it

biblia del disipulo2Imagine a world where God is not in control. Even when we don’t understand how things work, knowing God is involved brings a greater sense of comfort than the thought of a world spinning wildly out of control, surprising us and God at the same time.

This post is one in a series of devotionals which were published in La Biblia Del Discipulo (The Discipleship Bible), which is a Spanish language Bible. For more information on the Bible, please visit : http://www.bibliadeldiscipulo.com.

The E-Version is also available for IPads or mobile devices. Copyright 2011.

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Chris

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A missionary teacher for 24 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God