God has a plan and a purpose for everyone. Nobody is insignificant. We are after all, created in the very image of God. This includes the homeless person living in a cardboard box and the abused child in a home of neglect. We all have a part to play in God’s divine design, and sharing in the sufferings of Christ is part of His game plan.
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Suffering is an effective tool God uses to refine our spiritual character. Adversity is permitted, or sent, as a loving gift from heaven above. Perspective is critical here. God gives good gifts therefore trials are beneficial.
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:11 (NKJV)
So how can our painful moments be of any use? How can something hurtful, shameful, or grievous actually be a blessing? Do not trials teach us valuable lessons? Do we not gain insight, knowledge and wisdom as we muddle through our adversity? Is this not something we can share with others? Healings and lessons of perseverance are not only a witness of God’s grace but also an encouragement to others.
The process of sanctification chips away self-reliance and causes even the most prideful of mankind to cry out for help, help that only God can provide. Learning to depend on the Father is a major lesson in our spiritual walk. When we trust Him with all things and remain peaceful in the midst of an uncertain fate, faith has carried us. Others will notice our manner and desire the same inner peace we exude. Life style witnessing is a powerful tool and useful in the work of the Great Commission.
Suffering unites us all. Each person has experienced pain. Therefore, we can compassionately connect with others through this common bond. No race, creed, social status or level of education can escape the reality of suffering. Because of this fact we have an open door, a first step in sharing the Good News. We can build relationships in many different ways and there IS a fellowship of suffering, with Christ Jesus AND with others.
Here then is the great blessing found in adversity. Because of the pain you endured, thanks to the grace of God, you are now equipped to encourage and bless others. Your victory over tribulation will give them hope. But wait; there could be an additional blessing. You might have an opportunity to lead someone to Christ. God could use your story to change someone’s heart. What a blessing it is to witness a spiritual rebirth! What a special honor and service God provides for those who are willing.
Our heavenly Father does not set out to crush His children. We are His beloveds! It is in love alone that He disciplines and uses painful circumstances to teach. Yes He does test us but remember, He is the Master Teacher. His gift to us is His wisdom, knowledge and instruction.
“For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” Ps.103:14 (NKJV)
The furnace of affliction is never pleasant but it is for our benefit and for the benefit of others. By refining us into the very image of His son Jesus, who was a bruised reed but never broken, God purifies and commands us to share His love with others. Not wanting anyone to perish, God moves us to carry His message of hope and salvation.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)
Are you seeking opportunities to proclaim His truth to your family, friends and neighbors? If not…. Why not? Our Savior and Redeemer, the comforter of all souls is looking for those who will say, “Here am I Lord, send me.”
“It was good for me to be afflictedso that I might learn Your decrees.” Psalm 119:71 (NIV)
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:19 (NKJV)
“The instruction of the Lord is perfect,renewing one’s life;the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy,making the inexperienced wise.The precepts of the Lord are right,
making the heart glad;the command of the Lord is radiant,making the eyes light up.The fear of the Lord is pure,enduring forever;the ordinances of the Lord are reliable
and altogether righteous.” Psalm 19:7-9 (NKJV)
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:“Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”
Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”Isaiah 6:8 (NKJV)
“There are no lessons so useful as those learned in the school of affliction.” ~J.C. Ryle
*The devotion is in my upcoming book FACING ADVERSITY WITH WISDOM, PRAISE, AND PROMISES. Look for it on Amazon this December, just in time for Christmas gifts!
Viewpoints expressed herein are of the article’s author(s), or of the person(s) or organization(s) quoted or linked therein, and do not necessarily represent those of The Olive Branch Report
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