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"Write this down for the next generation so people not yet born will praise God." Psalm 102:18

"Write my answer on a billboard, large and clear, so that anyone can read it at a glance and rush to tell the others." Habakkuk 2:2

Friday, October 1, 2010

Growth, the Christian Life and Suffering

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:3-7

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:12-13

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.  2 Corinthians 1:3-7

My heart has been heavy the past several days, for multiple reasons. I have been contemplating some weighty thoughts. I have some dear friends that are going through some rough times in their lives now. I struggle with how I can reach out and help them. I would love to be able to make their difficult times disappear, but yet I'm not able to do that. I can stand in the gap and be a prayer warrior for them, but there is nothing tangible that I can do to eliminate the situation.

I have been thinking about my own struggles. I have had some disturbing news the past couple days. I also have been reading via a prayer loop of various writers that are facing spiritual attack whenever they work on a manuscript that they feel God has placed on their hearts. I can't help but wonder if this shouldn't be happening to all believers. Don't get me wrong, I don't love struggles, trials or difficult times in my life. But shouldn't we expect Satan to be stirring things up and causing strife in our lives when we are choosing to faithfully following God? Isn't this sometimes proof that we are on the right path? We shouldn't be surprised by them.

I guess the important thing is what we do with those trials we face. Do we remain strong, and allow God's spirit to shine through us, or do we succumb to the hard situation? My prayer for myself and my friends (and anyone else) is that we will be faithful when we walk through the desert. May we seek to exemplify God in all we say and do.

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