The Power of Suffering…
- “Grace has the power to turn afflictions into mercies.“
Jeremiah Burroughs in The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment
- “Humility is always found connected with long-suffering.”
Jonathan Edwards in Charity and its Fruits
1 Peter 1:3-9 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
- There is so much in this passage, but let me just highlight a few things: God has made us alive, granted us salvation through Jesus Christ, and gave us an inheritance that is untouchable as we are safe-guarded through faith. The very power of God that saved us continues to sustain us. While our earthly experiences, and even our physical lives, may suffer the effects of a fallen world, our salvation is beyond its reach. Through Christ we have a living hope that sustains us, and while we walk by faith instead of sight, we endure suffering with joy that is impossible to describe. It is impossible to describe, because it is not rooted in the things of earth. Our joy is bound up in the glories of heaven that have made their home within our hearts. Our joy is a small taste of heaven that is made available to us though we still live upon the earth. Through the trials that overwhelm us, we experience the testing of our faith–the dross is burned off and the luster of His glory shines within us.
- May we ever embrace suffering for it is one of God’s most necessary means of producing Christ-likeness. Through our longsuffering we are transformed into the beautiful bride of Christ that is pure and blameless. Suffering produces holiness and humility, and these two beautiful qualities are most clearly mingled in the Cross of Christ–the pinnacle of suffering. Let us therefore seek to imitate the Savior, who for the joy set before Him endured the Cross for us.
Blessings in Christ, Gabe