8. Passages about the suffering of God’s people
Our flesh has limited strength. God’s strength has no limitations. He is always faithful.
When I abide and trust in Him, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength.” Phil. 4:13
I don’t want to be like those who turn away from God. They will perish.
Those who draw near to Him, He will be a shelter.
If we draw near to Him, He draws near to us. James 4:8
God corrects and disciplines His children because He delights in them.
Romans 5:3-4 NLT
Problems and trials help us develop endurance.
Endurance develops strength of character.
Character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
Since we are God’s children, we are heirs of God’s glory along with Christ.
If we share in His glory, we also share in His suffering.
(I backed up two verses because this passage can be taken incorrectly without them.)
This verse isn’t saying that whatever happens to us works out for our good.
The passage is about cooperating with the Spirit’s intercession on our behalf.
The Spirit knows our weaknesses.
We don’t know what we should pray for.
God knows our hearts and what the Spirit is interceding on our behalf.
The Spirit translates our wordless sighs and inner groanings in accordance with God’s will.
The Spirit is always leading us in accordance with God’s will.
We also have to be ones who love God and submit to His calling.
If we instead yield to the devil, we become his slaves. Romans 6:16
“The false teaching that nothing happens to us but what God wills or allows has caused many of us to yield to Satan’s bondage instead of resisting him. (James 4:7). AWMI
We can have confidence that God who is deeply concerned about us and is seeing to it that all things work together as a plan for those who love God.
Going back to verse 2, Paul is talking about the religious who wave around their credentials. The religious Judaizers still insisted on circumcising Gentile believers.
Paul says he once prided himself in those same credentials. Now he has thrown them away.
He now realizes,
The real believers are the ones the Spirit of God leads to work away at this ministry, filling the air with Christ’s praise as we do it. We couldn’t carry this off by our own efforts, and we know it—even though we can list what many might think are impressive credentials.
Paul says, “Everything else is worthless compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ my Lord. Phil 3:8 NLT
Paul certainly knows a thing or two about suffering persecution, but he doesn’t seem to be referring to that in this passage.
Hebrews 5:8-9 NLT
Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him.
Jesus suffered anticipating what He knew was coming. He is our example.
Excellent reference. That says it all.
9. My times of confusion and doubt
My mom’s death when I was eighteen was a tough season for me.
Early in her illness, she had an experience where the presence of God overwhelmed her. She felt the large tumors in her abdomen melt away.
Those growths never returned, but cancer later returned in her pancreas.
I’m thankful she lived another seven years after she was first sent home to die. That was a major miracle. But at the time, I didn’t understand. Frankly, I still don’t.
I felt, if anyone deserved to be healed, she did. Everyone loved her. She was a really special woman.
I suffered more than necessary because I didn’t fully trust God to be my comforter. I turned away instead of toward Him.
I tried out the world’s way of living for awhile. It felt so empty, lonely and hopeless. It reminded me of a Woody Allen movie I saw.
Even though I didn’t understand what happened to my family, I knew I didn’t want to live an empty life.
Jesus suffered separation from God for a time. “Since Jesus was dying for our sin as our substitute, He was experiencing the agony of separation from His Father. It was the agony of hell.” Billy Graham
Perhaps the Father did not forsake Jesus. Perhaps Jesus—like us—just felt like He did.
My life has been difficult and often unpleasant, but I’ve continued to seek God in faith. As a teenager, He reminded me over and over — “If you seek Me, you will find Me.”
During prolonged times of suffering or persecution, we may feel like God has forsaken us. But He promised He never will.