Suffering feels strange. To feel pain and sorrow seems foreign. But suffering is a regular part of our human experience. There is a sect of Christianity that promises the type of Christian life that is without pain and suffering. It promises perfect health and wealth for those that follow its tenets. But this is not the teaching of Scripture:
33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – JesusJohn 16:33 (NLT)
Our increasing comfort and ease of life is not an indicator of our level of obedience.
Pain, suffering, and adversity can be seen as indicators that we are “doing it wrong”. However, our trials and suffering in this world, when not caused by our own hands, should not be understood as something that is wrong; they are an opportunity for further dependence on God. Christianity does not promise a life free of storm, it promises a shelter IN THE MIDST of the storms of life.
Tomorrow, Peter explores the outcome of suffering – and it is for our GOOD! While God doesn’t cause suffering, it will serve its purpose. Today we are invited to sit in the midst of suffering and experience the unease of not having an escape or an answer.
As you read today, you might think of a frustrating situation or outcome. Are you suffering right now? Many have lost jobs, are without the stability of a regular income, and are wondering what is next. Some have lost loved ones. Some are anxious because of our current ejection from homeostasis and are begging to return.
Today allow the Lord to realign your expectations. He is near and will bring His purposes and plans to completion.
As a reminder, here are our steps for S.O.A.P.:
- Find a quiet place and read the SCRIPTURE of the day. Read it again. Read it slowly. Read it out loud!
- What OBSERVATIONS did you make? What does this passage teach you about God or yourself? Are there any calls to action? Do you have any questions?
- How will you make APPLICATION of this scripture and live your life differently today in light of what you just read? Be specific!
- Let it marinate. Take some time for PRAYER – thank God, confess any shortcomings, and ask to be empowered. Sit for a few moments and see if God has anything else for you.
Here is our passage for the day:
12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.1 Peter 4:12 (NLT)