Suffering is pain.
We all have pain at times -- mental, physical, emotional, spiritual.
When we think of suffering in regard to our faith though, I think we think about the big kind of suffering -- like what many of our Christian brothers and sisters experience in other countries. Some are killed for their faith. Some lose all they have. Some are tortured or imprisoned for their faith.
And yes, that is big suffering and we should not forget them. We ought to pray for them and do what we can to help them.
But that doesn't mean we don't suffer.
We all suffer in some ways. We all have pain. To deny that is to deny we are human and living in a fallen world.
My question is -- who are you suffering for?
What are you doing with that suffering, with your pain?
Who are you giving it to?
Here are a few scriptures I read this morning:
"For it is better if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong."
1 Peter 3:17
"Though He slay me, I will hope in Him, Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him." Job 13:15
"Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body (which is the church) in filling up that, which is lacking in Christ's afflictions." Colossians 1:24
"As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him." Colossians 2:6
Again, who are you suffering for?
Who is benefiting from your sufferings?
Who are you giving them to?
What do I mean?
If you are suffering well, if you are suffering for Jesus, you are doing it in faith. You are believing no matter what that He will come through. You are believing He will bring good out of whatever you are dealing with.
But if you are suffering in unbelief, if you are suffering to despair, if you are suffering in worry, you are not doing it for Jesus. You are giving gifts of suffering to your flesh and the enemy and that strengthens them.
Let's not strengthen the enemy or our flesh ever!
If you are dealing with something right now that is hard or inconvenient or painful, don't give it to the flesh. Don't give it to the enemy. Give it to God. We can give Him anything. And whatever we give Him we will use for great good.
Let's do that.
Let's do that today.