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A Hard Lesson to Explain

You may wonder how I decide what to write about each week at www.teatimeforyoursoul.com. When God gave me this fine assignment of writing spiritual encouragement over the internet, He promised always to show me what to write. I write about the most important spiritual lesson God taught me that week. What a great deal. If you don’t like my article, that’s okay; at least I can know that I wrote what God wanted me to write. I must admit there have been several times that I did not want to write what He told me too. Amazingly, those are the articles that I got the best feedback about.

I’m not sure how this one will come off. I’ve got to tell you I really,really, really don’t want to touch this subject in a one-page devotion.I’ve discussed this with God all week, and He keeps assuring me that Ineed to share what I saw in His Word with you.

The lesson I learned was to look at my suffering as potentially God’s will.Did I really write that? I just don’t want to cause any of you who aresuffering to feel distant from God. I don’t want to be insensitive to thereality of suffering in the world and the immense suffering that even the readersof Tea Time are facing right now. But as I read 1 Peter 3:17, It is better,if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil, Ifeel a call to look at suffering from a God’s will point of view and findcomfort in it, rather than fear or distrust in God.

Peter wrote these words as a man personally acquainted with suffering. In fact,Jesus told him face to face that he would be persecuted and die because of hisfaith. Peter is speaking from personal experience with suffering, and he tellsus to us take a look at our suffering from God’s perspective. Peter tellsus, you are going to suffer here on earth. He calls you to ponder, "Wouldyou rather suffer in the middle of God’s (permissive) will; or would yourather suffer for your own bad choices?"

Peter embraced his suffering and he reasons with us to do the same. He callsus to look up to God as we suffer rather than simply beg Him to take it away.To do this, we must ask, "How can I connect to Your will through this suffering?" It’sa bold request for fragile people, but God seems to think we can handle the truth.He also invites us to ask for His help in our suffering, relief from suffering,or a miraculous intervention, but there is something more we encounter in suffering.We can seek to know how God’s will has been accomplished through suffering.Making that discovery doesn’t mean that you have to like your suffering,or completely understand your suffering. He does say that you can benefit fromyour suffering by recognizing that if the Lord has allowed this suffering, therecould be a greater benefit. By the way, there is no benefit for suffering whenyou are suffering for doing evil.

Don’t hate God because you are suffering; rather think about how His willcan be accomplished through your suffering. Keep doing good, even if you suffer.Don’t give up!


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