Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How to Stay Encouraged in the Midst of Suffering

by Gregory A. Johnson

Christ on the Cross by Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Many people are suffering today, including some who are Christ-followers. Contrary to the belief of some, people of faith also suffer. Suffering does not come only to those without faith. Christ suffered; Christ-followers will also suffer.
I know that suffering is not a topic that brings thrilling goose bumps or makes us want to shout or dance with joy. Maybe that is why some churches and popular church leaders avoid the subject today, but it should not be avoided. In fact, with all the suffering people around the world, we need to talk about it and find ways to help people cope and make sense of it all.
Are you suffering today? Do you know of those who are suffering today? I imagine you can say “yes” to one or possibly both of those questions.
In the midst of suffering, you will always find encouragement in God’s Word. Most of the New Testament was written to people of faith who were experiencing tremendous suffering. The church suffered much during the first three hundred years of its existence. I don’t find the early preachers, like the Apostle Paul and Apostle Peter, avoiding the subject. In fact, they experienced suffering firsthand, and they talked about it openly, bringing encouragement in the midst of suffering.



According to the Word of God, let me give you some things to do that will help you during times of suffering:
·        Humble yourself before God, waiting for Him to move in your affliction.
·        Unload all of your anxiety on God through prayer.
·        Be on the lookout, knowing that Satan preys on suffering people.
·        Resist Satan and the temptation he brings to fall into the sin of unbelief during times of suffering.
·        Know that you are not alone. Many people of faith are suffering around the world.
·        Know that Christ will restore you, either later on in this present life, or upon His return.
Beloved, if you are suffering, please know that you are not alone. Christ suffered. There are Christ followers all around the world who are currently suffering. Christ will lift you up at His proper time.

SCRIPTURE:
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:6-11).


PRAYER:
Eternal Christ, I thank you for suffering for me. You are a wonderful example to follow. I thank you for your Word that brings instruction and encouragement to help me during my times of suffering. I lay all of my anxieties at your feet today, deciding to leave them there and not carry them with me out of my place of prayer. Help me be on the lookout for Satan and his temptations today. I receive your strength in the midst of my weaknesses. I pray for others who are in the midst of suffering. Sustain and strengthen each one today. Send your encouraging Word to them. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.

Excerpted from the book, Be Encouraged: A Daily Devotional, Volume 2 by Gregory A. Johnson. Copyright © 2012 by Gregory A. Johnson. All rights reserved.

Know that you are loved,
gaj

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