Today I am going to talk to you about a difficult subject and I hope you can bear with me for a couple of minutes and open up your Bibles to the book of James
I want to talk about suffering today.
It’s been a difficult month, I won’t lie to you, for our family. We’ve had to walk through very difficult situations and some where we’ve watched our daughter walk through. Earlier this month, a new mom had given birth to her stillborn baby, and she was full term and it was right before our daughter Savannah gave birth to her baby, Noah. And right after Noah was born, about a week or so, another dear friend of ours lost their baby in labor, also.
It was a difficult thing to walk through with my daughter as she fought with the questions that we often fight with, like why them and not me? Why do bad things happen to good people?
And so, I’ve been thinking about suffering a lot and what the Bible has to say about suffering. And, what I think, as believers, we need to remember that God is working in the midst of pain; God is working.
It is the job of a Christian to look more like Jesus.
Open up your Bibles with me to James chapter 1. Starting in verse 2, we read of James’ point of view on trials and suffering. James has written this letter to teach Christians the practice of Christianity, to teach them what it means to walk with the living God.
And, James says if we have real faith, we will show it by acting like real Christians, no matter what it is that we are going through, even if it’s suffering, if we’re angry, if we feel like we’ve been wounded, or unjustly treated.
There is the heart of the Holy Spirit inside of us when we know Jesus.
Starting in verse two, in chapter 1, James says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its works so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything. If any of you lack wisdom, he should ask of God who gives generously to all not finding fault, and it will be given to him, but when he asks, he must believe and not doubt because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
If you read earlier in the Bible in the book of Deuteronomy, 4:31, we read, “For the Lord your God is a merciful God; He will not abandon you.”
So, how do we respond when trials and temptations come our way?
Well, the first thing that we are learning to do as Christians is to be thankful, for we see this over and over again in the Bible.
Ask yourself, do I have a heart of faithfulness? Do I have a heart of thankfulness? Am I wallowing in self pity? Or am I allowing God to work through the midst of suffering that I find myself in?
We NEED to have a heart of thankfulness and a heart of faithfulness.
And, we need to believe that no matter what comes our way, that God is inherently good and He loves us, and that He is working THROUGH the pain that we are going through.
Satan WILL lie to you when you are suffering. He will say to you that other people are watching and that you have to put on a face, because people are watching. Which is true, because Hebrews says we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, but, remember that God also understands your humanness, and when we believe “Oh I have to do it well,” that is performance based.
The other thing that we tend to fall into is the fact we want the approval of other people, and that is approval based.
Mom, hang on to the fact that God already approves of you. He loves you, He sees your suffering, and He knows that you want to serve Him.
And so, as you go through sorrow and temptation and suffering, trust the Lord for His goodness for you and that His mercies are anew every morning. And allow Him to fill you up.
I have a friend who used to say to me that if I lived in the future, that I would live with fear and anxiety, and if I lived in the past, I couldn’t have victory in the present.
The same thing is true when we are walking through suffering.
We cannot imagine, or take ourselves to a future place because it will take us to a place of fear and anxiety.
So, we need to learn to live in today.
TODAY is God’s gift to me and tomorrow (like the Bible says) has enough worries of its own.
So, learn to trust the Lord, today, busy mom. He cares about you; get alone with Him, allow Him to come in, lay down your sorrows at His feet and allow Him to work through the midst of the pain.