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Suffering

Enduring for the Prize

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a famous actor, businessman, politician, and former professional bodybuilder.

He grew up in Austria in humble circumstances and in his teens committed himself to bodybuilding – and to be the best bodybuilder.

At age 20 he won the Mr. Universe title.

Arnold would train six days a week, twice a day when preparing for a contest.  Moreover, he would also train each muscle group three times a week. 

It was rumoured that Arnold would need to train with at least three different training partners because no one could keep up with him.

He is a magnificent example of commitment, dedication, hard work, single-mindedness and enduring hardship for the sake of the prize – and he won the prize.

The Apostle Paul knew that for Christians there is an even greater, grander, eternal prize that motivates them. He knew that we, as Christians, must answer to Jesus and either receive reward or rebuke.

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Suffering

Lord, why am I suffering?

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.


2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Affliction and suffering are a God-ordained part of the normal Christian life.

One of the reasons God ordains affliction, suffering and illness in the Christian’s life is that he or she can in turn help others who are going through similar affliction, hardship and illness.

Many Christian groups have dedicated “Healing Services”.  Typically, the pastor calls the diseased, disabled or despairing person to the front and claims their healing in Jesus’ name.

However, in 2 Corinthians 1:3-11, we read that God has ordained that Christians face affliction for a purpose – to help, encourage and comfort others facing affliction.

It may well be God’s will to heal the diseases, disabled or despairing Christian (through miracle or medicine), but that’s God’s work not ours.  We should certainly pray for God to heal people, but it’s always with the caveat, “Your will be done, not ours”. 

It may also not be God’s will to heal as God may have an even greater purpose in mind. 

Pastors certainly do not have the power or authority to claim healings in Jesus’ name.

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Suffering

Making sense of our suffering

What has been your most difficult trial in the last couple of years?

Sickness, strained relationships, persecution, isolation, financial difficulties, family problems?

Today, as all through the ages, people have different responses to trials, suffering and hardship.

They may think, “God obviously doesn’t care about me.”

Or, “God has deserted and abandoned me.”

Or, “I must have done something wrong and God is punishing me.”

Or, “Christianity is just a farce.  If God really did love me this would not be happening.”

The Christians, to whom the Apostle Peter wrote the letter we know as “1 Peter”, were also suffering and facing many trials.

Categories
Suffering

Don’t live in cuckoo-cuckoo land

syriaWe don’t need the Bible to tell us about the reality of suffering and evil, it’s all too common to us.  The Bible says we live in a fallen, broken, scarred world where evil and suffering are prevalent.  In fact, the Bible is the only book in our world that can truly explain why the world is like it is.

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Christian Worldview Suffering

National Geographic and the wisdom of God

goat 1Imagine this terrible scenario: You are lying in a hospital bed being kept alive artificially by plastic tubes in your arm and nose. A killer hurricane has destroyed everything you own and all you’ve worked for – your house, you car and your savings. You family has not survived. You’re hanging on to life. You move through the normal stages of grief, but your prayers are tinged with bitterness, “If only God would visit me and give me some answers. What has happened contradicts everything I know about God. If I would just show up and explain why!”