Satan does not wait for anyone to come to him, he goes searching. Like a lion on the prowl he searches for lives to destroy; minds to confuse; bodies to afflict with sickness and disease; families to tear apart and finances to dry up. He does this to the children of God in hopes that we will first curse God, and then die.
Sometimes we feel as though we will be overcome. We are surrounded on every side; struck down by the problems we face and threatened with hopelessness. But, we are not without hope. Our hope is in Christ. Our strength is in Him. God sees our tears and He knows our heartaches and our fears.
God is the God of Compassion. He cares for us and he wants us to bring him our worries, our anxieties and troubles. He wants us to leave them in his capable hands. He wants us to trust Him!
2 Corinthians 1:3-11 (NIV)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.
It leads one to wonder as to the whys of God’s seeming unwillingness to deliver us speedily from our trials. Paul addresses this with eloquence:
If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
Does God allow us to be tormented for the sake of others? The answer is ‘yes’ but it is not as simple as it seems. You see, it’s through our sufferings that we not only receive God’s glory but He is glorified among men. When we endure without giving way to the enemy, our fellow sufferers who are our brothers and sisters in Christ receive comfort and encouragement in their own fight of faith. Further, sinners who watch us, some who are in hopes of our failing, will see the salvation of our faith which is Christ Jesus. Even if our tribulation seems to be unto death, Paul preaches, it is so that we will trust in God and not in ourselves (nor in man).
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.
But here is the hope and the promise!
He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
Paul reiterates this reason and hope in 2 Corinthians 4:15-17 (NIV):
For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man [our Spirit] is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory…
During our days of lack when we’ve drawn our belts so tight we can’t get air enough to breath and we’ve received all the assistance man has to offer but still are in need – we must endure and trust God.
When the doctors shake their heads in despair and their reports offer us no hope of recovery, beloved we must endure and trust God.
When our children, siblings or spouse refuse to turn to the Savior we love and adore; when they linger in the filth of sin and shame, we must endure and trust God.
It is in God we find hope. It is in the Master of the universe that our peace resides. It is in the bottomless well of Living Water where our thirst can be quenched. Though the fiery arrows of the enemy fly overhead and threaten to engulf the world around us in flames – we must endure and trust God.
Beloved of God, my brothers and sisters in Christ, stand firm on the rock of your salvation. Stand! Do not give ground. Do not give up. If you have to crawl, clawing your way inch by inch to the mountain’s peek, screaming and crying all the way – don’t you dare give up! For, “after you have suffered a little while,” your suffering will end. (2 Peter 1:10 NIV) It is ‘after’, that God will heal. It is ‘after’, that God will loose the chains from the captives. It is only after that the flood gates of prosperity will be opened.
But before we can see the ‘after’ – we must endure.
It hurts. It’s painful. God knows the chaos and confusion that assails our minds. Cling to Him! Dig in the deeper beloved. Imprint yourself in the Ark of Safety and hang on for dear life because if you don’t, “…to whom shall we go?”
It is God who has the words of eternal life. He is our hope in this life and He loves us. He hears our prayers and despite what the enemy may say God has answered every one of them. We just have to wait for the answer to be made manifest.
Trust Him. Rely on Him. Turn to Him and He will not fail you. Hold on! For the Lord says:
“I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.” Revelation 2:9-11 (NIV)
Beloved I don’t like to suffer. I’ve been running from suffering all my saved life. But, I am not alone anymore; I have the Holy Spirit within: He says it’s time to stop running. I have the Hope of Glory residing on the inside of me and where I falter He will stand! So I say to my Lord, the God of my Salvation, my Hope of Glory…So be it.
I pray that you are encouraged and that the Holy Spirit will enable you to do the same. If you have not yet received the free gift of the Holy Spirit, pray to receive Him and that God grants you mercy until you do. He who is able to keep us faultless will cover you with His mercy and grace until that blessed time.
For additional encouragement read:
2 Peter 1:7-11
1 Peter 5:7-9
The Suffering Saint – a poem
A Pit full of Purpose – a poem