Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

The suffering of the righteous

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.”

Psalm 34:19-21
 

As Christians, we should not be shy of suffering. When one, with regard to the life as a Christian, reads and pays heed to the various scriptures in the Bible, it becomes clear that these are also meant for every one of us. Why is it that the righteous have to endure much suffering? With “righteous” is meant someone who believes in the forgiveness of sin by God. Thus, a person, whom God has, in response to his faith, imputed the righteousness of Christ (Romans 3:26). What is behind it? What is the secret to suffering? The suffering referred to here is a particular type of suffering, namely – the suffering of Christ (2 Corinthians 1:5). God made Jesus suffering because of us (Isaiah 53:5). However, in the same sentence, we also find the abundant solace of God. Thus, both in abundant measure – suffering and solace! At the end of the suffering comes solace – so to speak a restoration (see Job). And it becomes even better than before – however first comes the suffering. God ensures that we are able to endure it and remain in faith! How can one recognize glory? I would say, if one has a comparison, it is possible. The problem is just that we have left the glory of God through our sin and now “...come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) We are now something like heirs of corruption. When something becomes broken and useless, because one doesn't use it timeously for what it was intended, it goes to waste. The opposite would be a heritage of glory. So, when something becomes “unbroken” and able to follow its purpose. God did not shy away from (because of us) giving us a comparison between His glory and our corruption. This occurred through suffering which lead to solace and manifested itself through compassion in the Person of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:15). Whomever lives as a righteous person in an unrighteous world, suffers – there is no alternative. God came from the heavenly glory to a corrupt, earthly world, so that we could go from an earthly world to the heavenly glory and eternity. Perhaps one can better demonstrate our painful existence in a picture?

We can only change our leotards (received from above) after we have played the game. And this “Game of Life” sometimes takes place on hard concrete and through wind and storm. This includes some hard landings and many cold winds blowing around us. When our opponent “fouls” or we stumble over our own feet, we take comfort in the fact that we are able to overcome many assaults and sometimes even score a goal. In the meantime, we can also encourage our teammates and help them back on their feet. In the end it is always God's grace which helps us back on our feet (Proverbs 24:16 “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.”) Suffering is judgement over sin (John 1:29). We are redeemed, but through hope. Hope is the assurance of the coming glory. That means, we are still waiting expectantly for the visible redemption. And in the interim we are still living with the effects of sin in this world and also in us. We should ask ourselves in general, how can God show us His love and grace, when we do not also suffer in ourselves and in the world in which we live? We read in Psalm 94:18-19 “When I said, my foot slippeth; Thy mercy, O Lord, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me Thy comforts delight my soul.” We suffer so that we can grow spiritually and are able to perceive God in His glory and love Him truly and profoundly with all our hearts. God loves us first, therefore we must and should also love (1 John 4:19). What is more beautiful and meaningful – God is love! And that which Paul wrote to the congregation in Rome, with conviction, is relevant: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)

(Translated by Linda Gates)

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