Wisdom in times of hardship
Wisdom in times of hardship
Wisdom in times of hardship
Have you ever gone through hard times in your lives? When you go through hard times, what goes on in your mind? What do you tell yourself? What is this happening to me? What did I do to deserve this? This is so unfair. This has happened to me so many times, I think I am cursed. I think these are the thoughts that go through our minds when we go through hardship. I know I have thoughts like that before. This is our natural response because we don’t like suffering and we don’t think that it is good for us. Correct? We think that suffering is for bad people. Good people like us should not have to go through suffering like this. Maybe we don’t say it, but deep down inside, we think think that we should not suffer in our lives. So is this the truth? Is suffering bad for us? Does suffering make our lives harder?
If we look through the Bible, guess what the Bible says about suffering.
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
Paul wrote this
But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
Peter wrote this
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,
Paul wrote this
It says in these 3 verses to do what? To rejoice. Wow, to rejoice in our suffering. How many of us have rejoiced in our suffering before. Paul knew what suffering was. He suffered much in his life. Peter was the disciple who denied Jesus but later Jesus trusted him to take care of his sheep. He suffered in his life for the gospel. These 2 men of God knew what suffering felt like and both write that they rejoice in their suffering. Why do they rejoice in their suffering? What is the work of suffering in our lives?
Let us look at 1 Peter 1:3-8
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,
1 Pet 1:1-
In this letter to Christians who were persecuted and were suffering, Peter encourages them to remember that they are Children of God and that God has given them an inheritance that will not disappear. And this inheritance is the promise that God is with them and that God will never leave them. God has chosen them and will protect them till the last day and bring salvation to them.
It goes on to tell us about suffering and
1) Suffering tests our faith and measures our growth
In verse 6-7 it says:
6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:
Trials will test the genuineness of our faith and this is what is most important to God. It says that our faith is more precious that Gold. Trials grow our faith in God and makes the faith we know in our minds real. God tells us in his word that he will never leave us for forsake us. Do we believe him and do we trust him?
I always say that unless you act on the word of God, it is not real to you. Real faith is faith that is practiced in our lives. Many people will say that they have faith in God but unless they live it in their lives, it is only a thought. You don’t really have it unless you have trusted in God and allowed God to work in your life.
When we go through trials we have a choice of how we want to respond to it. We can either get bitter and blame God or some people for what is happening or we can learn something from it. I believe that every time we go through trials, God wants to teach us something. We need to be open to ask God God what do you want to teach me in this trial that i’m going through? If we choose to blame God and others for what is happening and we only want God to take away our suffering, we will only get through the trial and get nothing from it. We will continue to worry about what if there are more troubles that come. But if we respond to God, and allow God to teach us and purify us, we will grow in our faith, character and wisdom.
God desires that we benefit from our trials. I learnt this when I was growing up as a Christian.
God taught me all of my faith basics through trials.
Here are a few:
When I was a new Christian, I knew that God is Holy and he does not like sin. So when I sinned, I was so ashamed of my sin because I told God that I will not do that again. But I still did it. it was so bad that I felt that I did not want to go to church anymore. But my friends in church came looking for me when they knew I had stopped coming to Church. They prayed for me and showed me love. As they prayed for me and shared with me, God told me that he loves me and when I sin, I need to come to him. Not run away. I experienced the grace of God like never before at that time. From that day on, every time I sin and I feel guilty and want to run away again, I will come to God and pray and ask him to forgive me. This changed the way I relate to God and it helped me to receive power to grow in holiness.
There was another time when I was in a Job that I didn’t like. I had to do alot of admin and it was not my strength.And this Job requires me to work alot of overtime. I want to quit my job. So I applied for many Jobs hoping that they will call back. i prayed that God will give me a new Job. But no company called back. I could’t stay in the Job anymore and I cried out to God and asked him why he will not let me leave the company. I was angry with God that I had to stay in this Job and suffer. I demanded that God let me quit my Job. But God’s reply was no. God spoke to me one day as I was begging God to give me what I wanted. It was so bad that I cried. But God spoke to me and said, if I only want to have my way and will not obey him, he will not be able to use me.
I had told God earlier that I wanted to give my life to God and I wanted him to use me. God’s purpose for my suffering was for me to learn to bey him and trust him that he will make my path straight. When I began to be willing to grow in my obedience, I told God that i will stay as long as he wants me to and I will not complain.Everyday I tell myself, God has his timing. He will not let me stay one day less or one day more in this stayed another 1.5 years before God opened the door and gave me another Job. In total i stayed in the company for 2.5 yers. In those years in the old company I learnt how to do reports, how to manage clients and do presentations. All these skills I would use later in my life for what God has called me to do. In the end I benefited from from obeying God. I grew in my skills, my attitude and my faith in God.
When we allow God to teach us, we will grow. As Christians, we have a new life that God has given us and things that have life grow. What kinds of things don’t grow? Dead things don’t grow ok. Dead things rot. So let us grow and not rot in our lives.
2) Suffering helps us to grow in our hope
When we respond to God in faith in our suffering, God reveals his power to us.
He promised that he will never leave us nor forsake us.
When we respond to God and say to God. God please help me. Do you know what happens? It opens the door for God’s power to work in our lives. Power not just to deal with our problems. But more than that power to change our lives.
3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
In this verse it says that suffering produces endurance. If we respond to God in our trials, we will be able to endure because God promises to be with us. When we believe that God will do something good out of our trials, we will endure. As we endure, we will begin to build character. A character that trusts God will produce hope.
When we have hope in our lives, we will respond to things in our lives differently. It will change the way we live our lives. We will no longer fear for our future because we know that God in control. This hope that we have in God assures us that God has a plan and he is leading us to do what he has called us to do. If we have this hope in us, we will not complain about our lives even if we have to go through dark valleys in our lives. I think the greatest blessing to have is to have hope in times of despair. Because as long as you have hope, you can go on.
3) Suffering equips us to be a blessing
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 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 Cor 1:
God brings us through our times of suffering so that we can comfort those who are suffering.
If you are going through a time of hardship and you don’t know what you need to do. Will you want to speak to someone who has not seeked God for his purpose in his life? No of course not because he will not understand. If you are struggling with sickness, will you go to someone who has never been sick before for advice? No, because the person would not understand.
In this verse it says that in our times of our suffering God comforts us so that we can comfort others who are also suffering. When we hear people share about their problems and we tell them that we understand because we have been there, it brings great encouragement and comfort to those who are suffering. The four words I have been there are powerful words to those who are suffering.Why do we go to Jesus when we are suffering? Because Jesus has been there before. When you are suffering in your life, you can come to God because he understands. He knows what it means to be rejected by his closes friends. Judas betrayed him. Jesus knows what it means to lose all his friends when things get hard. The disciples scattered when Jesus was caught and crucified. Jesus understands how it feels to be injured, to be slapped to be whipped. he understands. He came to carry our sufferings and sins and nail them on the cross. So that we can have hope.
God uses the trials in our lives to bless those who are suffering. To bring hope to them. When Pi Nook got into an accident and we went to visit her. She was so afraid that her injury in her knee will cause her not to be able to walk. The doctor said she has torn a ligament. I rolled up my jeans and showed her that I understand how she felt. I tore my ligament too and that it will be alright. It will heal and you will walk again. She told me she was very encouraged because she felt that i understood her suffering. she was even more encouraged by my wife Cheri because my wife tore her ligaments in both of her legs.
Every suffering that we go through has a purpose and God uses it to test our faith, to strengthen our hope and to use to be a comfort to others. God wants to develop you, not to defeat you. All these things that you are going through are things for us to learn on this journey of life. So don’t waste your sorrow and hardships. Make full use of it. Be quick to ask God: “ God what is it that you are teaching me in this?” Be humble enough to say to God that you want to get something from the things that happen in your life. You want to grow to know God more. Don’t be stubborn and just want your way. You will end up suffering for nothing and you will continue to suffer in your life and not grow at all.
Suffering grows our faith and character
God always has a lesson for us to learn
Don’t waste your sorrow and hardships
Suffering equips us to be a blessing
God wants to develop you, not to defeat youSuffering equips us to be a blessing
Suffering Purifies our lives