Saturday, July 16, 2011

God’s Peace in the Midst of Suffering

16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. -John 3:16, 17 (KJV) 

I have heard much discussion over the years about the suffering which is in the world.  Many people have grown angry with God and even reached the point of bitterness.  When people pose the question about why God doesn’t do something about the suffering in the world I seek to gently remind them He has.  Jesus Christ has come and has brought forgiveness, salvation, peace, joy, and hope to a troubled and tragic world.  Through faith in Him we overcome the world and all its trials, disappointments, and heartaches.  Become angry enough with God and we run the risk of being overcome with bitterness. I have witnessed this in many people and it is not a pretty sight. 

One of my favorite authors, Philip Yancey, confessed how in years past he was angry with God over all the suffering in the world.  Yet as he met people who were believers he could not help but notice how their faith in God made them stronger in the midst of their suffering.  They were not defeated – far from it!  They were growing and vibrant as they looked to Christ to sustain them.  Philip’s spiritual journey brought him to the reality of God’s power in the midst of our suffering.  He said,”My anger about pain has melted mostly for one reason: I have come to know God.  He has given me joy and love and happiness and goodness.  It leaves me with faith in a Person, a faith so solid that no amount of suffering can erode it.”1  

When we trust Christ we are not defeated by our struggles, but we are strengthened, for the Lord is with us.  God empowers us to live the abundant life in Christ no matter what trials and difficulties we are facing.  Through faith in Jesus we walk forward in faith and spiritual victory even as the storms of life rage around us.  Like David in the 23rd Psalm, God prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies.  He fills our cup to overflowing (Psalm 23:5).  Even as we see the enemy in the distance, whatever or whomever it may be, we have the peace of Christ reigning in our hearts. 

This peace is available to all.  You and I are in no way excluded from God’s grace, mercy, and the peace which follows.  Look to the Lord, stand firm, and do not give up, for Jesus is greater than any problem we will ever face.  In Him we have victory. 

1Philip Yancey, “Our Daily Bread,” Thursday, July 21, 2011, RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, Michigan.   

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