SUFFERING ACCOMPLISHES UNKNOWN PURPOSES
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
~ 1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV)
The Bible makes it clear that Christians will suffer. Some pastors have the idea that teaching this fact will drive away new believers. Note that when Paul traveled throughout Asia Minor, he told the new believers; “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). He was preparing them for the future as well as explaining their present situation. We should prepare for the same. Paul showed us an example of this when he prayed three times for the removal of his “thorn in the flesh.” Then he saw that it was God’s will for him, and he accepted it. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
When suffering Christians are not sure they are in the will of God they will be unsure if their suffering is really God’s will. However, our great God “works for the good of those who love him...” (Romans 8:28). If we consciously submit to His will, He will give His divine direction. Our suffering and persecution can be placed in His hands by an act of our will. No believer needs to suffer alone and in doubt. Commit it all to the Lord (Proverbs 16:3).
As a young Muslim boy, twelve years of age, Abdul, experienced a tragedy that would change his life forever. Abdul drowned and was dead for more than an hour.
During his death he had a vision of angels coming to fetch him and then bringing him to a closed door. A man met him at the door and asked him where he was going. Abdul answered that he was on his way to heaven. The man answered that he would not be allowed in because Abdul still had a lot of work to do on earth. He woke up on his bed to find a pastor praying for him.
This happened twenty years ago and ever since, Abdul’s life has been changed. Even though Abdul only completed fifth grade in school, he is currently the pastor of a small church in a very poor village on the island of Mindanao in the Philippine Islands.
In his own words Abdul says, “I don’t understand God’s purposes in my suffering, but I now know the Lord.”
Abdul has a ministry in healing and is a source of great encouragement in his village.
RESPONSE: Today I will accept that suffering accomplishes purposes unknown to us now.
PRAYER: Pray for Christians who are suffering today and cannot accept this as God’s will. Praise God that someday we will understand all things fully.
Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.