Monday, September 21, 2009

Suffering and Why its Good for you

I have been learning lately about how to deal with suffering. I have had bible study and church sermons which have brought it up and I have also been learning about it in the book “The Purpose Driven Life”. I think that I’m starting to put into practice what I know about how to deal with suffering. I’m always reminding myself of how God is in control and that he knows and does what is best for me, that he has a plan which is for his glory and my good. I have also been encouraged and challenged to change my attitude to suffering with the passage from James 1:2-4, which says “consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” I am trying to turn my focus to the end result, my spiritual maturity and Christ-likeness which will result from my suffering. For so long I have been sick and for so long I have thought woe is me, which then resulted in depression – which through God’s grace I have been brought through to the other end. I no longer want to focus on my suffering, but rather what I can learn from it and how I can be changed and moulded to have the characteristics of Christ Jesus my Lord. I want to fix my eyes on Jesus and remember that my pain is temporary and my reward is eternal. I’m grateful that I have a God who can relate to the pain and trials that I have been through are going through and will go through in the future. I’m so thankful that I can look forward to no more pain and suffering and eternal life praising Jesus. Until then I want to be giving thanks in all circumstances – not whinging or complaining but rather rejoicing in the Lord who is always loving and never changing, who keeps his promises and who is trustworthy. I’m striving to be patient and persistent, continuing to endure and persevere – that I may be fully developed – that I may not lack anything. So now I am striving to pray less “comfort” prayers and more “make me more like Christ through this situation” prayers. I want to be content whatever the circumstances and trusting God at all times – whether good or hard. Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

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