No one wants to deal with pain—broken relationships, death, illness, abuse. If we could live in a world where these things did not exist, we would have far less to fear and far less to grieve over. While a life with Jesus is not a life absent of suffering it is a life that offers an answer to what to do with the suffering. We’re not left alone to deal with it. Because of the gospel we have a place to go with our suffering.
Thy Will be Done
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
jesus and suffering
Jesus knew his suffering was coming. He knew the purpose. He knew how the story was going to end. When we’re in the middle of grieving the unexpected death of a best friend or dealing with the diagnosis we never saw coming, we often feel like we don’t know what the next day will look like. Will we hurt this much forever? Will every day feel like a fight against our grief and fear?
Step back and look at it against the bigger, eternal, Jesus-minded picture. Do you know how your current circumstances turn out? You may not. But do you know how your story ends? You do. No matter your circumstances you will spend eternity with God. A life with Jesus doesn’t always mean cancer disappears, but you have a God who sees your pain, sees your anger, sees your fear and isn’t afraid of your feelings about it. And death? It has no sting. Scripture shows example after example of the way God meets his people in their lowest, ugliest, darkest moments. He moves in ways that are bigger than we can imagine and teaches us things we never thought possible.
Looking for the kingdom purpose in our trials seems like a backwards way to live, but it’s all for his glory.
“Being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:8–11).
what to pray
The freedom we have in Jesus means we can let go of controlling every little detail of our lives and live with open hands. We can seek what he wants first. To some of us, letting go of control may not feel like a gift, but what if we realize that the story we are trying to write was never ours to write in the first place? Every part of our lives is working to reflect God’s image and glory, even the suffering. What if we actually prayed what Jesus taught us to in Matthew?
“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
Christian author and speaker Elisabeth Elliot’s first husband, Jim, was murdered while they were missionaries in Ecuador. She later remarried and lost her second husband, Addison, to cancer. She knew suffering but still she said, “If your prayers don’t get answered the way you thought they were supposed to be, what happens to your faith? The world says God doesn’t love you. The Scriptures tell me something very different.
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