“But to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.”
(1 Peter 4:13)
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
It’s hard to be thankful while your world is crashing down. The ending of a job, the illness of a loved one, the loss of something you never dreamed you’d lose –so many circumstances in life take our breath away ….
We are a world uncomfortable with deep, long-term suffering. We want to fix or be fixed quickly. We offer advice, platitudes, prayers, and cries to God of, “Why us? Why them?” No one wants to suffer, yet we all experience it at some point in our lives. And when we do, there is no shortage of advice on how we should handle it ….
As we walk through our valleys, we do not have to dwell on our pain. Often it seems wrong and backwards that we would dare to find joy in the midst of suffering. Isn’t it a betrayal of our pain? Shouldn’t we be ashamed that our prayers were not answered? Should we be embarrassed that we believe in a God Who, to someone on the outside looking in, seems to have ignored us?
Saying we’re thankful and hopeful in these situations may sound naive and even a bit crazy to those who are watching. But the Gospel never has made sense on paper, has it?
(Isaiah 53:3) calls Jesus Himself “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” He was despised and rejected, mislabeled and wrongfully accused. He knew grief, but he did not allow it to define His life. His life on earth was defined by love. In love, He carried our grief and took on our sorrows, so we could have hope; a hope that does not change, even in the deep suffering of our earthly lives ….
Sisters and brothers, it’s okay to be sad. But we know Jesus; who died for us because of His great love, and rose again in love, so that all that is broken can be redeemed, so that in the midst of terrible pain we can have hope and know that this isn’t all that there is …..
Our hope is never in vain when it’s in Jesus. Our thanksgiving in times of suffering is a testament to how temporary the pain is in light of our great eternal joy and our everlasting hope ….
“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been pouredout into our hearts through the Holy Ghost, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5)
God is the reason for the season. The reason why we can continue to hope, continue to fight in the midst of struggles, and the reason to be thankful and have joy even in the midst of pain or sorrow. There is an incredible strength to be found in weakness, and it is found in the joy of the Lord ….
Let us pray ~
Dear heavenly Father, I thank You for all that You have provided for me in a time when the future looks so uncertain. Let me never forget that my citizenship is in heaven and that no matter what happens in my life while I remain on earth; You are in control and You have promised to care for all of Your children.
Help me to live my life in a manner that is pleasing to You in this ever changing world and help me not to put my hope and trust in the leaders of this world, nor the things of this world, as they are passing away, but may I always remember that my hope is built on nothing less that Jesus and His righteousness, for which I praise and thank You Lord. Thank You Father that You know the end from the beginning and that You are truly in control of all that happens. Not only in our lives, but in every corner of the world. Guide, protect and supply for the needs of all Your children today and everyday, and thank You Father that we DO know that our future is secure in You — no matter what may take place in the world. I praise Your name and thank You for Your loving kindness. I give You all glory and honor. In Jesus name, Amen …..