Monday, September 8, 2014

The Purpose, Extent and Remedy of Human Suffering

UV 1180/10,000 The Purpose, Extent and Remedy of Human Suffering

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

I Peter 5 v 10

If the Earth was like paradise, nobody would be looking for God. If it were like hell, no one would be thinking of Him. So our good times and bad times, our upturns and downturns, our successes and failures, our blessings and troubles are necessary for us to understand what is perfection, salvation, love, grace, mercy and compassion. God’s grace protects us from what we deserve and grants us what we do not deserve. Suffering is necessary for us to understand the God of all grace. He gives us strength in our weak moments. When we are feeling low, He lifts us up. Grace in suffering prepares us for eternal glory. When we suffer, we yearn for something better, the glory of heaven. When we suffer, we get a revelation of God’s character, nature and power. It inspires hope and increases our faith and inner strength.

In His eternal realms, there are no sorrows or tears, no suffering, no cause for regret or pain. But the earth and the world around us has been designed not that it is an unmitigated vale of tears and misfortunes but each of us need to “suffer a while.” It will not last forever. There are times of suffering, whether short or long but it will not be beyond the point that we cannot endure it. However, great or long is our suffering, it is but momentary trouble in comparison with the “ weight of eternal glory” that is our inheritance through our faith in Jesus.
When we go through suffering with a Christ-like attitude of “not my will which is to end it here and now but His will prevail,” our faith and patience is perfected. The Lord will strengthen us or enable us to endure it such that people will be amazed at the grace we show under such pressure. When we go through suffering, we need to pray for more grace instead of asking the Lord to end it prematurely. The Lord needs to glory or delight in our character. Suffering is needed to etch the deep lines of our character. Who would have believed the gospel except Christ Himself suffered for all mankind?

The word “ perfect” in this context does not mean that we will be free from any fault or errors but that we will become mature like Christ in facing life and our difficulties and challenges in life. The Lord will establish or fulfill His purpose in allowing us to go through such suffering. He will also establish the work of our hands. He will chip off the angularities of our character so that we are more finished, groomed and rounded. He will eventually “settle” us or give us rest from our troubles and enable us to be secure in our relationship with Him, having a fuller knowledge of the God of grace and His ways.

Prateep V Philip

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