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Archive for the ‘God’s Purpose Through Our Suffering.’ Category

17/04/2014
As we reflect on our Saviour’s love for us and the suffering he endured we know what his purpose was and so are more able to understand why he had to suffer; ultimately so that we might be saved.
But what of our own lives? We tend to struggle to understand why God allows us to go through times of suffering. In the bible we are told in Romans 5:3 that ‘suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.’ Romans 8:17 says ‘we as heirs of God & co-heirs with Christ, all share in Christ’s sufferings that we may share in his glory.’ And in Hebrews 12 it talks of how as children of God we are also disciplined, which is a painful process but produces a harvest of righteousness & peace.
I would like to tell you a little of what I’ve learned about God’s purpose through our suffering, as I have come to understand.
In my work as a care assistant I have often questioned God about the suffering that people have to endure, especially in old age. I wanted to know where God was working in their suffering. In the home where I work we had a resident who constantly remained on bed-rest. She could not move around, not even in her bed. She could only move her eyes and her mouth. She was unable to speak or communicate in any manner, but occasionally her eyes would fill with tears or show some expression of sadness. For years she remained in this condition and I thought that this was one of the worst existences you could possibly imagine. I questioned why God would allow her to exist in this way for so long. What purpose could God have for this woman who was living as a prisoner in her own body? I thought about how God must be doing a work in her.
Then one day not too long ago it dawned on me. When I looked at her I felt compassion & would be moved to tears. I also found myself being thankful to God that I could just move about with ease (something so many of us take for granted). This woman, just by existing & yet without saying or doing anything, was having an impact on my heart, mind and soul. She could melt the hardest of hearts, teaching compassion; she could arouse many a question, pointing to a greater purpose than herself; she could move a person to tears while at the same time causing them to appreciate what they had got. Yes God had a purpose for her & although at first glance you might think he had abandoned her & that her life had little or no purpose anymore, yet you would be very much mistaken.
Through our trials and tribulations it is easy to only see our problems & suffering & to lose our focus on God. But God has a plan and a purpose for each and every one of us. Just by existing we can impact others’ lives, even when there is no interaction, just like the resident I’ve mentioned. I find my heart is moved whenever I see a homeless person who is in need of comfort and the basic necessities to live on. Their suffering can motivate me to act, so that I want to reach out and help, which in turn can bring about change in people’s lives.
Through enduring long-suffering such as in illness, we can gain a deeper knowledge of our Lord’s love for us. When I have been in pain and have felt so ill that I couldn’t take it anymore, I would have taken a way out of that pain as many of us do when we take painkillers for a headache. But Jesus not only suffered ‘for us’ but he chose to ‘remain’ there in agony on that cross, enduring the pain & anguish and the mocking of those who had beaten and crucified him. Rather than call on the angels, free himself and reveal his true identity in all his glory, to them. Jesus could have opted out at any time. But in the garden of Gethsemane he resisted that temptation and made his decision to fulfill the purpose of giving himself over as a sacrifice for us. What extraordinary passion our Lord & Saviour expressed when he said to the Father “yet not my will but Yours be done.”

So the next time you find yourself in painful circumstances try to see where God may be using the situation for good. I know it’s not easy but ask yourself:

• What greater purpose could God bring about from this?
• Is there something God would have me learn through this?
• Who around me may have something to learn from this, that God may use it for good? and
• Could this be an opportunity for me to spend more time seeking & pressing into God, depending on him for all my needs & receiving his comfort & healing?

And if you are still lost for answers remember Isaiah 55:8-9 that says ‘His thoughts are not your thoughts & neither are his ways, for his ways are higher than your ways & his thoughts than your thoughts.’

Prayer

Thank you Lord Jesus that not only can you identify with our suffering; and not only are you with us through it all but you took our place and suffered for us that we may live with you ‘eternally free from suffering’. Lord when we go through such trials in life, may we be reminded that you are right there with us and that no matter how bad things may get, You will bring about good out of that situation. Amen!

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