Romans 8:10-18-19 (ESV) For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.
How could a good God allow suffering in the life of those He loves? Why do believers feel pain or distress? Disadvantage or loss? Sin cost the Kingdom. Jesus died to give us the “keys” to the Kingdom. To unlock Heaven’s secrets and Kingdom living is to suffer. The death of our flesh and mindset of this world to give way to faith that trusts the Lord in all things requires suffering including but not limited to discomfort, inconvenience and even outright pain. Our flesh does not want to line up with God’s Plan because it signs its own death sentence in that moment. Paul articulated the human struggle between the natural begin and supernatural creation that one becomes in Christ when he wrote “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” We want to serve God and follow the example of Jesus Christ yet our flesh wars against us and our mind rebels. The struggle is real and so is suffering.
Matthew 26:39 (ESV) And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
It is beyond human comprehension to fully understand the suffering of Jesus. Though the physical abuse is carefully outlined, there is no true account of exactly what it was like to bear every sin of every person on the Cross. The spiritual suffering of judgment is something you and I will never know once our heart and life are given to Jesus. The extent of allowable human suffering once grace is applied is limited to our mind, will, emotions and even our body. The aspects of our human not our living breathing soul made alive and new by His Awesome Gift of salvation – that’s good news!
I Corinthians 10:13 (ESV) No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Human suffering makes way for the faithfulness of God. As temptation and trials come our way, the Lord gives us the opportunity to trust Him more. Our dependence on the Lord opens the windows of Heaven and allows the Kingdom to operate in the natural. It doesn’t make any sense or I would try to aptly explain it. Our flesh will always be given to suffering because it is in direct conflict with God in us. It will always war against the new creation emerging and new life forming around us. It knows it is losing control and fights to regain it. Thank you Lord that you always provide an escape. What is the escape? Surrender. Submission. Handing this wretched being over to our Gracious, Loving, Kind and Good God. We can do that freely, boldly and confidently because of the suffering of Jesus on the Cross. To follow His Example – believers must learn to suffer as He did. Depending on the Father to sustain Him through it until He made it to the other side.
Romans 5:1-5 (ESV) Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
God is not punishing you. His Grace is always sufficient. The suffering in our life is exposes the hidden battle faced every day between flesh and spirit. Suffering produces something when our faith emerges and grace catches us. It becomes endurance and with it character comes forth. Character is our identity. God’s Love for me demonstrated in the offering of His Son Jesus to be a living sacrifice for my sin afforded me the Spirit of Adoption that makes me a Child of God. The Holy Spirit lives in me now and wars with my flesh so that my inheritance – the Kingdom will be where I live now and forevermore. I just have to get me out of the way. Thank you Lord that you love me too much to leave me where I am comfortable and complacent but rouse me with suffering to the hope that never leads to disappointment. Amen and amen.
Hebrews 10:19-23 (ESV) Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.