Joyful In Sufferings

Posted September 14, 2019 by SandreS
Categories: Suffering

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Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness (Colossians 1:11).

By Christ we are empowered unto all endurance and longsuffering with joy. Because of this marvelous power we can be joyful even in sufferings. By means of this power we can take with joy whatever may happen to us.

Paul did not pray that the Colossians would be kept from suffering. To the contrary, he prayed that they would be empowered to all endurance and longsuffering with joy; that is, he prayed that they would have the capacity to suffer long with joy. To suffer long in joy is to endure suffering in Christ.

Witness Lee (1905-1997)
Life-study of Colossians, pages 22-23
(abridged & edited)
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Present in the Storm

Posted July 20, 2019 by SandreS
Categories: Suffering

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The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress (Psalm 46:7).

Heartbreaking events continue to happen again and again. When they’re replayed, so is the age-old question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” It doesn’t surprise us that this old question doesn’t have new answers.

Yet the truth that the psalmist puts forth in Psalm 46 has also been replayed and rehearsed and embraced repeatedly. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (:1). The conditions described in :2-3 are catastrophic – earth and mountains moving and sea waters raging. We shudder when we imagine being in the midst of the stormy conditions poetically pictured here; but sometimes we do find ourselves there – in the swirling throes of a terminal illness, tossed about by a devastating financial crisis, stung and stunned by the deaths of loved ones.

It’s tempting to rationalize that the presence of trouble means the absence of God, but the truth of Scripture counters such notions. “The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (:7, 11). He is present when our circumstances are unbearable, and we find comfort in His character: He is good, loving and trustworthy.

— Arthur Jackson
Our Daily Bread, June 20, 2019
(adapted & edited)
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Divine Diversions

Posted July 12, 2019 by SandreS
Categories: Suffering

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They tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to (Acts 16:7).

Twice in Acts 16 Paul and company were redirected by God. First, they were “kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia” (:6). Then, “When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to” (:7). Unknown to them, God had other plans that would be right for His work and workers. His no to the previous plans put them in a position to listen to and be confidently led by Him (:9-10).

Who among us hasn’t grieved what we initially thought to be a painful loss? We’ve felt wounded when we didn’t get a certain job, when a service opportunity didn’t materialize, when a relocation got derailed. Though such things can momentarily be weighty, time often reveals that such detours are actually divine diversions that God graciously uses to get us where He wants us, and we are grateful.

Arthur Jackson
Our Daily Bread, June 28, 2019
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Submission to His Wise and Gracious Will

Posted June 20, 2019 by SandreS
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Dear Friend,

I am glad to be assured that your sick wife happily feels herself safe in the Lord’s hand, enabling her quietly to submit to His holy, wise and gracious will. Apparent difficulties, however great, are nothing to Him. A few years will set all to rights, and all tears shall be wiped from our eyes!

John Newton (1725-1807)
Author of the Hymn, “Amazing Grace”
John Newton’s Letters, September 27, 1777
(abridged & edited)
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Misery Transformed into Joy

Posted June 15, 2019 by SandreS
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Knowing that we were “born unto trouble” (Job 5:7, KJV) – or as the Concordant Version translates it, “born to misery,” and knowing that this is our Father’s current purpose to bring about our ultimate good (Romans 8:28), we are able to find great peace in the midst of all of our brokenness and seemingly adverse circumstances. With the eye of faith we can glory in our “afflictions” (Romans 5:3, CV), counting them all “joy” (James 1:2), knowing that “the sufferings of the current era do not deserve the glory about to be revealed for us” (Romans 8:18, CV).

Our current troubles and miseries are transformed into joy in our hearts without any change in our circumstances whatsoever. We are able to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4) in the midst of our brokenness and apparent opposing situations knowing that “the momentary lightness of our affliction is producing for us a transcendently transcendent eonian burden of glory” (II Corinthians 4:17, CV). This is what Paul calls the “joy of faith” (Philippians 1:24), which allows us to become “superexceeding in joy in all our affliction” (II Corinthians 7:5, CV).

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
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Born to Misery

Posted June 13, 2019 by SandreS
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I am touched by those who open up to me about their many difficult struggles in life. These experiences that they share with me are not uncommon. They represent the brokenness that each of us has in this first phase of our existence – our earthly life. Well did Job say that we are all “born unto trouble” (Job 5:7, KJV) – or as the Concordant Version translations it, “born to misery.” This is the lot of our current training-stage.

Of course, we all long for perfection – and rightfully so – as it will surely come when we appear with Christ in Glory (Colossians 3:4). Until then we patiently endure our marring by the Potter’s hand (Jeremiah 18:4). After all, He is the Creator, and we are His creatures: thus we are His workmanship – His “achievement” (Ephesians 2:10, CV). As always, and in every circumstance, God is getting exactly what He desires out of our development and we are called simply to “Relax and know” that He is God (Psalm 46:10, CV).

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
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The God Who Groans with Us

Posted May 22, 2019 by SandreS
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Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians begins in a way that is full of empathy for people like us. He refers nine times to the comfort we all need so that we can comfort and encourage one another (1:3-7). Paul goes on to describe a comfort of Christ that is given to those who suffer with Christ (1:5, 8-9). The rest of Paul’s letter shows that these words of comfort include those who join Christ in self-sacrifice without excluding those who hurt for lesser reasons. The apostle shows, as Jesus so often did, that in all of our needs, anxieties and wrongs, there’s a way to find the reassurance of a God Who groans with us and for us – even before pain and trouble open our heart to Him (Romans 8:18-39).

Mart DeHaan
Our Daily Bread
(edited)
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