August 14

Today's Reading: Psalms 89Romans 14

Today's Thoughts: Why Do We Suffer?

Yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord willprosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Isaiah 53:10-11

We struggle when we think that we will have to experience "trials of various kinds." Various kinds of trials invariably come with suffering. It does not take much effort to see that there is so much suffering, but we wonder: Why do Christians have to experience it when Jesus came to give us life abundantly? We frequently forget that the abundant life starts here, amidst all the suffering. We all know that there are more ways to suffer than just physically. Mental, emotional and circumstantial events can all bring aspects of suffering. At any given time, we could be faced with a serious trial by any one of these means. Why would God allow that to happen?

The word Christian means "little Christ." As Christians, we are not greater than our Master and His call on earth was to suffer. The NIV says that He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not (Isaiah 53:3). Jesus was filled with all the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) while still suffering and in sorrow. That is the goal of the Christian's life. Despite all the emotional, mental, physical, circumstantial torment, we have love, joy, peace, patience—through it all.

The rain falls on the just and unjust alike. It falls on the saved and the unsaved. We are not spared from trials because we are Christians. But it is through the everyday issues of life that we are changed into Christ-likeness because of them. Jesus is our example as well as our intercessor who knows and understands whatever we are facing. Turn to face Him, knowing that the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

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