Pain and suffering, sickness, dying – it’s all part of the curse of God on the world because of sin, because man chose evil over obedience to God. The Fall of Man brought all of this down on us. It will be done away with by Christ – when we get to heaven.
But what about now? The pain. How are we to understand it, and deal with it?
The Apostle Peter says to us in 1 Peter 5:6-9
6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God [set aside self-righteous pride], so that He may exalt you [to a place of honor in His service] at the appropriate time,
7 casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully].
8 Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour.
9 But resist him, be firm in your faith [against his attack—rooted, established, immovable], knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being experienced by your brothers and sisters throughout the world. [You do not suffer alone.]
The key thing in suffering is humbleness before God. Peter says we do best by humbling ourselves when suffering and pain and worries hit us. Peter assures us that God will use what happens to us – to shape us to be more and more like Him. Peter says:
After you have suffered for a little while,
the God of all grace
[who imparts His blessing and favor],
who called you to His own eternal glory in Christ,
complete, confirm, strengthen, and establish you
[making you what you ought to be].
– 1 Peter 5:10
Peter teaches us to resist (v9), be firm in Christ. 1 Peter 5:9-11 condensed:
9 …be firm in your faith…. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace… will Himself complete, confirm, strengthen, and establish you [making you what you ought to be]. 11 To Him be dominion (power, authority, sovereignty) forever and ever. Amen.
In the midst of pain and sorrow, believe that God does have dominion over all (v11). The grace of God gets us through it all. He gives us strength we don’t have. Whatever happens to us, believe God’s Word. Someone put it this way (based on Philippians 1:21):
If suffering brings death to us,
then – Glory, we are home.
If suffering endures for awhile,
and then we are healed,
then – Glory, we remain to serve Him more.
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Whatever the reason for our suffering as believers, “the one who endures and bears up [under suffering] to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:13)
“…so that we might die to sin
from the penalty and power of sin]
and live for righteousness….”
(Verse 24 of 1 Peter 2:20-25)
Even if we do right and then suffer for it… God will bless you in it. “…Patiently bear [undeserved] suffering….” (vs20). I am encouraged to know that He is my Shepherd (Psalm 23). He is the Guardian of our souls (v25 of Psalm 23).
…if when you do what is right and patiently bear [undeserved] suffering, this finds favor with God. 21 For [as a believer] you have been called for this purpose, since Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you may follow in His footsteps.
5 His anger lasts only a moment,
his goodness for a lifetime.
Tears may flow in the night,
but joy comes in the morning.
– Psalm 30:5
Good News Translation (GNT)
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