Suffering With Christ
Greetings all. I pray that you each are well as are your family and friends.
Just a quick thought, though an important one for today's world. The suffering of the Christian. Something that many Christians, especially newer and younger Christians, have a difficult time understanding. This is the age-old question: Why do bad things happen to good people? Which can be translated into real speech as this: If I'm trying to be good, why do bad things happen to me?
If we are in this "trying to be good" mindset, does this not mean that we are not really good at all, we're just "trying to look like we're being good"? Think about this, please. We are sinners. The question for our eternal destination is not are we good, but do we believe in Jesus Christ? Are our sins covered by the blood of Jesus Christ?
This means that as long as we are on this earth, in our flesh, we are, at our best, just forgiven sinners.
Why should any of us expect that we should not have to suffer in this lifetime? Have we performed some great deed that promotes us to the head of the line of mankind? I know this sounds harsh, but we need a little humility. Some of us need a great deal of humility. Flip this question: If we do not suffer, should we not feel blessed? This is how the Christian should view suffering. Not the idea that we deserve to not suffer. What we deserve is the cross.
Thomas a Kempis, a Dutch philosopher, once said, "Human reason is weak, and may be deceived, but true faith cannot be deceived".
I love this quote. We do deceive ourselves. Until, that is, when the Holy Spirit of God has complete control of our heart and soul, and mind.
Then we realize and understand that all of humanity is suffering. Christians who suffer are blessed to have Jesus by their side as they go through their moments of anguish. Paul, suffered mightily, in prison under Nero, and wrote this, in 2 Timothy 1:8-10,
"So do not be ashamed to testify about the Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life--not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."
Some of you may be thinking this a harsh message. This is a message of Christ, our suffering servant. Christ is revealed by our suffering. The quality of our faith is revealed by the quality of our suffering.
People all around us our suffering. Are you paying attention? Are you content while things are good for you? Then discontent when things are difficult? Or are you all in, like Jesus is with all of us when others suffer? When a saint suffers, they are never alone.
Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.
and Harmony UMC