Suffering comes in myriad forms. And without the knowledge of God and His Son Jesus, suffering can last a life time. Can suffering turn into joy, or be replaced by joy? Is there something greater that mitigates the suffering? Can there be hope in the midst of suffering?
(Colossians 1:24-26 WEB) 24Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: 25Of which I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; 26[Even] the mystery which hath been hid from ages, and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
How many people do we know, including ourselves, that rejoice in suffering? Paul rejoiced that his own suffering was for a greater good. When we do good, don’t we expect praise for our good works? I ask people if they’re commended for being a Christian or are they criticized for being a Christian?
Paul did a great work for Jesus Christ. But he worked hard and faced legal and physical abuse. But in all of this he kept his eye on the prize.
(Colossians 1:27-29 WEB) 27 To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 29 For which I also labor, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
But not all suffering is undeserved. Criticism also doesn’t always come from the purest motives. Sometimes it’s deserved.
(1 Peter 2:18-21 WEB) 18Servants, [be] subject to [your] masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 19For this [is] thank-worthy, if a man for conscience towards God endureth grief, suffering wrongfully. 20For what glory [is it], if, when ye are buffeted for your faults, ye bear it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer [for it], ye bear it patiently, this [is] acceptable with God. 21For even to this were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
I’m discouraged. The following link shows ten people who have suffered greatly. Every story ends in triumph. But not restoration. I see nothing about Christian faith in these stories. But why do I see people in the church grieving over lost family members for decades? I believe it’s because they believe their faith deserves restoration. But God only promises victory over the situations, not removal of tragic consequences.
So I’m posting this link with reservations, since it would seem to contradict the idea we need God to persevere in tragic situations.
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