Jimmy Carroll, @imagechurch Dumfries, VA
- 1 Peter 4:12 (ESV)
- 1 Peter 4:13 (ESV)
- 1 Peter 4:14 (ESV)
- 1 Peter 4:15 (ESV)
- 1 Peter 4:16 (ESV)
- 1 Peter 4:17 (ESV)
- 1 Peter 4:18 (ESV)
- 1 Peter 4:19 (ESV)
It has been the experience that the longer we serve Christ, the deeper we can experience suffering. The closer we move to Christ, the more we experience both His joy and His suffering.
During our storms, it is fair that we ask some questions, God does not expect us to be silent and blind, but expects us to be real and honest; we are to be open with God. The most common question we have for God is "Where are you?"
v12 Do not be shocked!
Suffering is subjective, the pain of our suffering is different from those around us. There is also the point of perspective, unless someone else has faced that exact situation, they can never fully understand your pain.
Where does pain & suffering come from? Christians are not immune to suffering, but we must remember that God is sovereign.
cf 1 Peter 1:6-7
We experience suffering and in our suffering we must remember God. He is in control of or allows everything to happen. The testing of our faith produces steadfastness. Our faith through trials brings glory to God.
It is not an accident when we experience pain and suffering, God controls it or allows it. Punishment is about penalty, discipline is about teaching. God does not punish His children, but uses suffering to teach us and grow us.
If God never brings pain and suffering into our lives to teach and grow us, then we are not His children and are lost. He disciplines us for our good.
For the moment suffering is painful, but later yields growth. God is more interested in our character than our comfort.
Where does the suffering, that is not discipline, comes from? The enemy. cf 1 Peter 5:8-11
Sometimes suffering comes at the hand of Satan. But God will only let it endure for a time before He brings us back to rest in Himself. Job went through a dark period at the hand of the enemy.
Sometimes suffering comes at the hand of others. cf Genesis 50:20 How we should react when we look at our suffering.
Sometimes we face pain and suffering as the consequences of our own behavior. Regardless of the source of our own pain, it still hurts. In the midst of our storms we will come to a point where we either run to or from God. Disappointment is made from expectations that are not met. Our lives are not going to be pain free. God does not exist for our benefit.
Regardless of the source of our pain, we must remember the author of our lives. No matter what we are going through, it did not catch God off guard.
God whatever you are doing or allowing, I exist for you. My comfort is not my desire, my desire is to glorify you. Romans 8 does not mean we will be comfortable, but that all things will work out for the glory of God. There is more teaching in the Bible about our destiny than our destination. This life will be hard, but good. God is the author of good, it's not about us.
We will never be desperate for God when we are feeling good. Only in suffering and pain are we desperate for God. God longs for us to be utterly dependent on Him, we walk by faith and not by sight. What we can see comforts us, but when we are out of control and rely on God, we depend on God.
During trials God is preparing us for the place he prepared for us. Suffering is preparing us for the person the God prepared for us to be.
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