ABLE to Suffer Well
We don't like to suffer, and we typically try to do anything we can to avoid the feelings that come from suffering and pain. Thankfully, Jesus gives us an example and Scripture gives us a guide in how to suffer well. In fact, we have a calling to believe in Him and to suffer for His sake.
How do we suffer well?
1. Jesus set the example and goes before us. (Isaiah 53:3; Phil 2:7-8) He
experienced ALL of it. There are many flavors of suffering:
- Our own bad decisions (ex. Jonah)
- Betrayal (unfaithful spouse, friend, etc)
- Loss (job, loved one)
- Mystery (unexplained loss or hatred)
- Physical pain/sickness
- Persecution of faith
2. Embrace the desert/wilderness
The desert is a metaphor for the most challenging and stressful times in our lives. The most used word for desert in the Bible is MIDBAR, which is a desert that is very hard to survive in. This word comes from the root word, "DAVAR" which means, "to speak". There is a speaking in the desert.
We can hear God in the desert - we are tuned in. When life is good, we don't think we need God. In the desert times, there is a dependence on Him.
There are 150 Psalms and 42 of them are Psalms of lament. Read Psalm 13:1-6. The first 4 verses are honest, heart-wrenching pain, but he turns quickly and we see how his faith leads him to trust and rejoice.
Let your lament refine you (1 Peter 1:6-7). Our suffering serves a purpose. He will use it to be a blessing to someone else.
"Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscious, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." - C.S. Lewis
Sometimes, even with a strong faith, the suffering doesn't end the way we want it to. Psalm 34:18 reminds us "the LORD is near to the broken-hearted." He sees. He cares.
To Discuss Today:
To do this week:
1. Each morning, start the day writing down 2 things that you are grateful for from the day before.
2. Each morning, express your sorrow and disappointment. Name it specifically.
3. Talk to God about these things. Then, tell them to your spouse or a friend.
4. How has your suffering given you an opportunity to comfort or minister to others?