You have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.
–1 Peter 2:21
If you are going through a difficult time right now, do not be perplexed by that. Suffering is a part of God’s plan for your life.
What are some of the reasons God allows suffering in our lives? Some suffering is for our strengthening. Some suffering is the result of living for Christ in this sin-filled world. Some suffering is simply the result of living in a fallen world like we do right now. But the big point is that God is aware of your suffering, and it is part of His plan for your life.
I once read a statistic that said 70 percent of Christians believe that God plays no role in the suffering they are experiencing, that He has absolutely nothing to do with it. I don’t know about you, but that would be a depressing thought to me if it were true. I would be depressed if God had absolutely no hand in what I was going through, if God looked down from Heaven at what was going on in my life, slapped His forehead, and said, “Oh, I wish that were not happening to Robert. That is too bad. I hate to see that. I wish there was something I could do to help him, but I just can’t.” Who wants to serve a God like that?
The Bible says suffering for whatever reason is a part of God’s plan. In 1 Peter 2:21, Peter said, “You have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.” In 1 Peter 4:12-13, Peter said, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.”
Some of you reading these words are Christians who are suffering right now. You may be suffering from health concerns, financial pressure, a broken relationship, or a prodigal child or grandchild. You are thinking, “If I am a child of God, then why is this happening? I thought when I signed up for this Christian stuff, things were supposed to get better, not worse.” Do not be perplexed at what is happening in your life; it is all part of God’s plan. Remember, suffering was part of God’s plan for His beloved Son. If God’s plan for His own Son, Jesus, included unfair and unbearable suffering, then why are we surprised when suffering comes into our lives?
There will be times when God’s face seems hidden to you. The road to Heaven is going to have some jolts and bumps along the way as well, but every shadow, every jolt, is simply a reminder that you are headed in the right direction. Suffering is a part of every Christian’s journey, but it is only a prelude to the incomprehensible and eternal future that God has planned for us.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Birthmarks of the Believer” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.