Today is one of those days when I look at the news and almost lose hope for the human race. In addition to my own personal sinful proclivities, I learned that Islamists have reportedly crucified a catholic priest over the holy weekend, along with the news that 70 or more Pakistani Christians were murdered by ‘suicide bomb’ as they were celebrating the Easter holiday in a park. Never mind the attacks in Brussels last week that took the lives of more than 30 Belgians.
It’s difficult to be able to look beyond that and connect with God in the midst of this context. How much more difficult must it be for the Christians who are directly suffering?
From an article by Joseph Scheumann on www.desiringgod.org, the author says that suffering:
- Is multi-faceted and complex (there are more ways of suffering than Smartie colors)
- Happens in a context of community; we seldom suffer alone, church is about sharing the load with fellow believers,
- Prepares those who have suffered to minister to those who are going through a similar crucible,
- Is a battleground where there are two options (a lesson learned from Job): curse God or praise Him in the midst of suffering,
- Prepares us for glory; after all, this world is not all there is.
Scripture says in the book of Isaiah that Jesus himself was a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering.
Try and picture the following verses as Believers looking back on the times they may have doubted God and felt overwhelmed with their mortality and now in heaven can say the following:
Isaiah 25:8-9New Living Translation (NLT)
8 He will swallow up death forever!
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears.
He will remove forever all insults and mockery
against his land and people.
The Lord has spoken!
9 In that day the people will proclaim,
“This is our God!
We trusted in him, and he saved us!
This is the Lord, in whom we trusted.
Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!”
As for me and my household we will praise the Lord…