The Healing of Our Hurts (Part 2)

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:12-13 ESV). Peter had learned that Satan loved to hunt among the hurting, but he also learned that God arms us to fight well, even in pain and weakness. God plants invincible truths in our vulnerable hearts, and then guards our faith with his infinite power. Our reading today lists the first of five of these principles. He simply declares that all of our suffering will end one day. Remember, the apostle is writing as one who has suffered, to brothers and sisters who will suffer for their faith in Jesus. This is not an academic exercise in theology. He writes having been there to those who are going there! The painful moments in life, however those pains come, are the ones in which we’re most likely to question God and go our own way. Satan tries to convince us that God doesn’t care about the pain we’re going through. He tells us that God isn’t able to do anything about it, even if he did care. The consistent message is that the distress, the misery, the adversity will never end. That’s simply not true. Peter goes on in his letter and says, Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you (cf. 1 Peter 5:6). Our present suffering will only be for a little while, even if it’s for the rest of our earthly life. And soon, God will lift (“exalt”) us out of these difficult circumstances and into his safe and satisfying presence forever, away from everything we feared and suffered in this age. He will heal every wound, make up for every loss, and wipe away every tear (cf. Revelation 21:4). Instead of responding to our suffering with proud indignation, we can shock the world with patient, even joyful, humility. We follow Jesus, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (cf. Hebrews 12:2) — “he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death” (cf. Philippians 2:8). He suffered everything knowing the happiness of being held by and for heaven. I know when it seems as if all is lost this is very difficult. I, too, speak from a perspective of having lost. Perhaps my loss is not as great as yours, but the pain is real. I have also found that when I focus my sight on what God has reserved for me through his sacrifice I can truly take another step. When it feels as if your world has come to an end, please remember that our end will not be painful. If you are hurting now, it only means you are getting closer to the time when all of that is swept away in his glorious presence. Take another step. You just get closer to heaven! Jesus DOES...

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