A small group of friends and I met for an hour last night to discuss what is going on in our lives and to learn a bit more about prayer. One of the gals stated how overwhelming all the suffering of people, death and disease can be. We each have a list of those we pray for and each list is different. I know folks that they don’t, and they know folks that I don’t. When combined, the suffering seems never ending. That is simply the world we live in. Suffering can strengthen or it can destroy.
None of the people on our list are suffering because of persecution of their faith (at least that I am aware of). They (we) suffer because of sinful actions (our own and those of others), because of aging bodies, and because of disease.
Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. 1 Peter 4:16-19
Some suffering will come according to God’s will. In it, we are called to entrust our souls to Him while doing good. That is trust. Not clarity, not answers, not certainty, but trust. Not complaining, not wallowing in pity, not laying down in our suffering, but pressing on to do good in the name of Jesus Christ.
So, as I am praying for those who are suffering, I’m keeping my eyes on my heavenly Father. He is our help in times of trouble. He is our great physician, the cleft in the rock in which we take refuge, our sanctuary. He is alive in us. He is at work in us. He hears our prayers and rescues His children.
Father God, teach us to look to You for our help. Remind us to lift our eyes to You. Give us the strength to do good deeds and the eyes to see the opportunities You set before us – even in the midst of our suffering. Let us glorify the great name of Jesus Christ and not be ashamed. I pray for those who are being persecuted for the sake of the great name of Jesus. Lord, please protect and provide for them as they are walking in harm’s way. Let us not be overwhelmed by the long list of those suffering in this world. Help us to love others well in Your name. Amen.
I pray that in my time of suffering, I’ll keep my focus on Jesus Christ, and that He will strengthen me to do good for others. I lift my prayers up to God, who alone can intervene and bring good out of really bad situations. I pray for those who don’t know Jesus yet as their personal savior. Death will come to each of us. Knowing Jesus personally is the ONLY way to spend eternity in heaven with God. The ONLY way. Let each of us be ready to receive death gladly, as we know that we will be with our Father in glory.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”John 14:6-7
Ask Him to reveal Himself to you and He will. Confess your sins, believe that Jesus rose from the grave to give you eternal life, and accept His offer of salvation – taking Him as your personal savior. Then follow Him.
Pray for others so that God will be glorified. Do good, in obedience to Jesus Christ, so that God will be glorified.
Be encouraged. Press on.