With the threat of additional medical issues looming on the horizon, the Holy Spirit reminded me that my thoughts questioning why I may have to endure more affliction were not helpful. Instead of looking for God in the situation, I was focused on my fear of feeling physically worse than I do already. Thankfully, there is no end to the number of places I could find comfort and guidance in the Bible. My study for today included this passage:
The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 4:7-11
The first thing I noted in my study is the reminder that there will be an end to suffering in this fallen world. As a believer, my inheritance is a life with God for eternity where there will be no more pain or tears (Revelation 21:4). It is difficult to endure suffering now, but the hope that comes from knowing that it will end, even if it becomes worse rather than better, is comforting. I am thankful for my salvation, because without it I would not have this comforting hope.
My second point of focus from this passage is that, instead of letting my emotions carry my thinking away, I should be praying and having an eternal perspective. I know that God is working in all things, and that His work will be for the good of those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). My human tendency is to think that I know the best way to accomplish His purpose, and it shouldn’t include the physical suffering that I don’t like. “Oh! Wretched man that I am!…” (Romans 7:24) This is why I must dwell on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent, and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8). These are the things that will correct my faulty thinking.
Finally, I note that Peter tells me that I have things to do while I am here, things that glorify God. He has given me gifts that He wants me to use by serving and loving others, and He will give me the strength to do so. Jesus sets the example for me when I consider that He knew He was about to suffer and die when He chose to focus on loving and serving others rather than allow His thoughts to spiral into unbelief.
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
Instead of dwelling of what “might be” in the future, my goal for each day should be to continuously ask myself what I could do right now that would please and glorify God. I desire to do this simply because I am so thankful for my salvation. However, my study lesson for today also pointed out that I will appear before God regarding my works (2 Corinthians 5:9-10), and whatever does not burn up will result in a reward in heaven (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
Since God is working something good in all things, including my suffering, I can keep my eyes focused on the joy that is set before me as I do God-pleasing things. Jesus did this as He was led to the cross to suffer and die to pay for our sins (Hebrews 12:2). I may not understand the good that God is working in my circumstances, but I do know that He is sovereign, wise, and loving and is therefore capable of doing what He promises. What I also know is that He used a Scripture passage this morning to work peace in my heart, peace that I was struggling to find when I was relying on my own power to make sense of a troubling situation.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.