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On Suffering

 

ON SUFFERING

Dear Saints,

I received an e-mail message from one of our members about a week and a half ago, and received permission to reprint portions of the message.  The portions that are in parentheses is my additions to the message.  Here it is:

On Saturday night I wanted to read the Bible, since we hadn't really read the Word since we have been busy.  I just sat down in front of the TV and opened my Bible.  I had been thinking and worrying, wondering why this (suffering) was happening to us?  I got this answer to my question and I didn't search for it, it was just there.

1 Peter 4:1.  Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.

I read through the chapter ending in verse 6 and skipping over to verse 12.  ("Beloved, thing it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.  But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.  If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified . . . Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.")  I then read all the way to verse 17 - 19 and I understood.  ("For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?  And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?  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.") 

We are not immune to hardships, disease or infirmities just because we are Christians.  I always assumed that we would have some divine protection.  We go through the same things as everyone else; it is our attitude and willingness to do the will of God that separates us.  See also 1 Peter 5:10.  ("Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:  whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.  But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you."  Actually, 1 Pet. 6-10.

(The Amplified Bible says, "And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace - Who imparts all blessing and favor - Who has called you to His [own] eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen (and settle) you.  To Him be the dominion- power, authority, rule - forever and ever.  Amen - so be it."  1 Pet. 5:10-11.)

I also pondered why God would create us if he has so much power over us? Are we just mere puppets?  Why give us intelligence and reasoning only to pull the strings? Remember our discussion about Judas and Pharaoh, who never had a chance?  He then gave me this word:

Romans 11:34

For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counselor? Or who hath first given to him! And it shall be recompensed unto him again? For him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

He then gave me Romans 9:11 and showed that even before a child was born, he loved one and hated the other.  Read all the way to the end and the questioning of God's actions were the same ones I had in my mind that are in this chapter and He answered me.

The fight against our desires of the flesh are never ending and will not end until we are perfected, as Christ was perfected through his trials and sufferings. When we went through the waters of baptism, that is what we agreed to in order to attain the highest reward.

...................

Not only Light of the World Missions, but Christians all over the world are going through sufferings in order to purge and perfect them.  It is the will of God.  Not everyone will go through the same kinds of trials and sufferings, but everyone will.  Perhaps it will be persecution, imprisonment or some other trial.  We need to clearly understand what God is doing so that we can lift up holy hands in thanksgiving and praise as we give Him glory.  Attitude is important.  When we praise Him instead of murmuring and complaining, our perfection in Christ will come sooner.


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