Our Present Suffering and Future Glory

Suffering is Inevitable

Suffering is inevitable. At some point in our lives we are all going to suffer.

Whether it be suffering from the loss of a loved one…

Suffering from the loss of a job and not being able to make ends meet…

Suffering from chronic illness, cancer, or disease…

Suffering from being plagued with fear and doubt over what God is calling you to do

Suffering from the consequences of sin…

Suffering from failed relationships or divorce…

Suffering from not being married or being able to have children…

Suffering from not feeling loved…

For me, this week, I suffered as I watched someone I loved suffer. And I really didn’t know what to do.

What to Do When You Are Suffering

The reality is the world is full of suffering. If you’re not suffering now, you probably have in the past and you probably will in the future.

The world would have us just push through our suffering – to rely on ourselves until we finally feel better.

But the reality is, as Christians, we can suffer differently. We can rely on Christ and not ourselves to get through our suffering. 

If you are currently suffering and just don’t know what to do, try these 3 things:

Pray.

It’s not that prayer will remove your suffering or even make it easier, but prayer will strengthen you. It will allow you to remember that you have a Father who loves you and a Savior who understands your suffering – because He Himself suffered to the point of dying on the cross.

You don’t fight these battles on your own – God is right there with you.

“God is our refuge and our strength; an ever-present help in trouble”. – Psalm 46:1 (NIV)

Ask others to pray for you as well. When we are suffering, the first thing we want to do is retreat – we want to isolate ourselves from the brothers and sisters in Christ who love us and avoid talking about our suffering. We need other people praying for our strength because we can grow weary.

Whether you ask your accountability partner or your small group, whether you ask at the altar call, or just call into a prayer hotline – just ask. Whether you go into detail about your prayer request or just simply say, “Can you pray for me?” – just be bold enough to ask someone to pray for you!

Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” – Matthew 18:19-20 (NIV)

If you are too weak to pray or ask for prayer, do know that you have an advocate who intercedes for you. 

Earlier this week, when I found out someone I loved was suffering, I just cried silently. I was too weak to even pray. It’s comforting to know that when I am too weak to pray, the Holy Spirit intercedes on my behalf. The Holy Spirit does the same for all of us.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” – Romans 8:26 (NIV)

Have the Right Perspective.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NIV)

Our suffering is light and momentary compared to eternal glory.  But it can feel heavy and like it’s dragging on forever when we don’t fix our eyes on the Lord.

It’s all about having the right perspective. Through prayer, reading the Word, living in community, and remembering the suffering God has brought us through in the past, we are gaining the right perspective.

Earlier this week, I had to make a mental list of my past sufferings. From the small sufferings all the way to the 5 1/2 year bad relationship that led to me to ultimately knowing Christ. Those things, at the time, felt heavy and like they were never going to end, but they did!

Those sufferings seemed heavy and never-ending but they really were just light and momentary afflictions in comparison to the glory I received in Christ.

Look Ahead to the Future Glory.

“I consider our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18 (NIV)

There is future glory in our present sufferings.

We have the glory of spending eternity with Christ. There may even be glory here on Earth.

No one ever had a testimony without a test. Our present sufferings lead to future testimonies and a gateway to help others who suffer with the same things we have suffered. We become living testimonies of what God can bring a person through.

Our sufferings also lead to our own faith in God being strengthened. As He continues to hold us through different sufferings, we learn that we can trust Him over and over again.

Suffering is inevitable. But remember, as Christians, we can suffer differently.


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