1 Peter 4:12New International Version (NIV)Suffering for Being a Christian12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fieryordeal that has come on you to test you, asthough something strange were happening toyou.
John 16:33New International Version (NIV)33 “I have told you these things, so that inme you may have peace. In this worldyou will have trouble. But take heart! Ihave overcome the world.”
Psalm 34:18New International Version (NIV)18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed inspirit.
We LEARN things aboutGOD in suffering that wecan’t LEARN any otherway.
Genesis 39:20-23GOD could have kept Josephout of jail.
Jeremiah 38:6GOD could have keptJeremiah from being tossedinto a slimy pit.
Daniel 6:16-23GOD could have kept Danielout if the lion’s den.
2 Corinthians 11:25-27GOD could have kept Paulfrom being shipwrecked threetimes.
Daniel 3:16-27GOD could have kept the threeHebrew young men from beingthrown into the blazing furnace.
But GOD didn’t STOP any of thesethings from happening. He letthose PROBLEMS fromhappen, and every one of thosepersons was drawn closer to GODas a result.
PROBLEMS also force usto look to GOD and todepend on HIM instead ofOURSELVES.
2 Corinthians 1:9New International Version (NIV)9 Indeed, we felt we had received thesentence of death. But this happened thatwe might not rely on ourselves but on God,who raises the dead.
Because GOD is sovereignly incontrol, accidents are justincidents in GOD’s good planfor you.
Romans 8:28New International Version (NIV)28 And we know that in all things Godworks for the good of those who lovehim, who[a] have been called accordingto his purpose.
Every PROBLEM is a characterbuilding opportunity, and themore difficult it is, the greater thepotential for building spiritualmuscle and moral fiber.
Romans 5:3-4New International Version (NIV)3 Notonly so, but we[a] also glory in oursufferings, because we know that sufferingproduces perseverance; 4 perseverance,character; and character, hope.
Since GOD intends to makeyou like JESUS, He will takeyou through the sameexperiences JESUS wentthrough.
Romans 8:17New International Version (NIV)17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, ifindeed we share in his sufferings in orderthat we may also share in his glory.
PROBLEMS don’t automaticallyproduce what GOD intends. Manypeople become bitter, rather thanbetter, and never grow up. Youhave to respond the way JESUSwould.
1. To deal withSUFFERING as JESUSdid, remember that’sGOD’s plan is good.
Jeremiah 29:11New International Version (NIV)11 For I know the plans I have for you,”declares the LORD, “plans to prosper youand not to harm you, plans to give you hopeand a future.
Joseph understood thistruth when he told hisbrothers who had sold himinto slavery.
Genesis 50:20New International Version (NIV)20 You intended to harm me, but Godintended it for good to accomplish whatis now being done, the saving of manylives.
Hebrews 12:10New International Version (NIV)10 Theydisciplined us for a little while asthey thought best; but God disciplines us forour good, in order that we may share in hisholiness.
2. To deal with SUFFERINGas JESUS did, we mustrejoice and give thanks inthe midst of it.
1 Thessalonians 5:18New International Version (NIV)18 give thanks in all circumstances; forthis is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
3. To deal withSUFFERING as JESUSdid, refuse to give up.
James 1:3-4New International Version (NIV)3 because you know that the testing of yourfaith produces perseverance. 4 Letperseverance finish its work so that you maybe mature and complete, not lackinganything.