Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Even In Suffering

 Tuesday, October 13, 2020  Some material taken from Changes Part 3 by Sam Nobles

And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.  About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened. Acts 16:23-26

Even In Suffering 
Just as change is a part of life, unfortunately suffering is also a part of life. How we handle suffering may be more important than how we handle change. Both throw us off balance, but suffering cuts to the very heart of us, and sometimes lasts a lot longer than change. Usually with change we have a transition period and then we adjust and move on. But suffering can last what feels like a lifetime. How can we navigate the dark road of suffering and still shine the light of Christ to the rest of the world? 

Yesterday we learned about Paul and Silas being in jail, singing, an earthquake coming, and the prison walls coming down. The one thing about this story that is what we should remember, is not the earthquake, or the prison walls crashing down. It was the fact that Paul and Silas were singing - praising God in spite of what was happening to them

Neither Paul nor Silas were asking for anything; they were simply praising God and singing hymns during a time in their life where they are facing agonizing uncertainty. Their backs were raw and bloody, they were covered with wounds, they had suffered a great injustice, but they exhibited no self-pity or resentment. They did not know this delivering earthquake was coming nor did they request it.  Sam Nobles

Paul and Silas were suffering. They had been beaten. They were in jail and had no idea what would happen to them. Would they ever see family again? Would they be killed? Would they die in prison? Would they even be fed? What would have been going through your head? If we were honest, we would probably not be thinking of singing and probably would be feeling some self-pity. But they worshiped because they knew they served a great God who was in control - even in their suffering. 

The thing about Paul and Silas that caught the attention of the other prisoners was that they were singing even though they were beaten, and even though they were in prison, and even though they did not know what tomorrow would bring. Their lives were a testimony of Jesus Christ and their faith in Him. They believed that no matter what happened, or how they were suffering, that He was in control.

When we suffer, others will watch to see how we handle it. How we hand suffering will have the greatest impact on those around us. They will be watching how we handle everything, but it is matters of the heart that speak the loudest. When people suffer it tugs on our heart, even if we don’t know the people. How many times have you read a story on social media that touched your heart because of the suffering the people were experiencing? Suffering catches people’s attention because we silently wonder how we would handle the same situation. 

These men understood that suffering - physically, mentally, and spiritually - was absolutely necessary to spiritual maturity.  - Sam Nobles

Jesus suffered for you and me as he was beaten, mistreated, and nailed to a cross so that we could have eternal life. Suffering brings sanctification and holiness. It is a refiner in our lives, burning up every single trivial thing and leaving us to focus on the most important things. 

Maybe you are in a season of suffering. Maybe it has been a very long season and you are weary and ready to give up, feeling completely hopeless. God sees you, just as He saw Paul and Silas. Others around you are watching too and your life, through this suffering, is a witness of your faith in Jesus Christ. What are you saying  by the way you are handling suffering? Will those around you see that your life speaks of the glory of God and His magnificent power in us to overcome all things? Even in your suffering? Don’t let your feelings of weariness and hopelessness drown out your praise for an all-powerful God. God uses everything for good, even suffering. The way you handle your suffering could be the difference between life and death for someone else. Let others see that you serve a great God who is in control - even in suffering.  

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

1 Peter 4:12-13



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