What's up with suffering?
It may be the loss of a loved one or a personal health issue. It may be your marriage in the balance or a friendship that has taken a hit. It may be a tough situation at work or a challenge your church is facing. Life incurs valleys! And we are supposed to rejoice in the sufferings! Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Rom.5:3-5). When we are struggling, the Holy Spirit is in us to help us cope. When we find it hard to love, He is there to love through us. When we just cannot forgive, He is there to forgive through us. When we face tough choices, He is there to show the Way.
The Word on SUFFERING is: The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.
We cannot comprehend the sufferings Jesus experienced, yet we know of them because His blood was necessary for our salvation. Personal valleys, sufferings in my life have helped me mature beyond accepting forgiveness for my sins to accepting responsibility for relationship with Jesus the Christ. Sufferings turn eyes from self to Him, from other words to His Word, from other influences to the influence of the Holy Spirit. This is the journey in relationship that grants glimpses of His glory in marriage, family and beyond.
A faithful father perseveres through sufferings to grow in his relationship with the Father, through the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer guide: Lord, rejoice is not the word that comes to mind in the midst of sufferings. Yet as I progress out of the valley, I do rejoice that You are my Father! Thank You for Your patience as I struggle under the influence of the world. Thank You for the sufferings that turned my eyes to You. Thank You for the Holy Spirit that keeps me in Your Way. I pray that my flesh, my natural self will not again turn from the love You have poured into my heart by the Holy Spirit. Amen.