Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Trials and Tribulations – Part 4

This is the last in a series of posts on suffering and evil. It continues with some suggestions for coping with trials when they come our way. Note that some material in this post was based on the book The God Questions by Hal Seed and Dan Grider, published by Outreach Publishing, © 2007

3. God Helps Us

Third, remember God is with you and will help you through your trials. Jesus said he will give us peace, and he is more powerful than this world:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NIV)

Jesus promised always to be with us in Matthew 28:20b: “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” NRSV

Jesus told us he is with us in the form of the Holy Spirit to help us get through life:

"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.” (John 14:16-18, NRSV)

4. God Brings Good Out of Adversity

Fourth, remember that God can and does bring good out of any adversity, as we read in Romans 8:28:

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. NRSV

Joseph said to his brothers in Genesis 50:20:

"Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today." NRSV

5. Keep the Eternal Perspective

Finally, remember that we are on this earth for a very short time, and then we have all eternity to be in the presence of God, where there is no more sorrow. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:18:

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.

He said something similar in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18:

For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. NRSV

The Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:3-6:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials… NRSV


In conclusion, suffering is never easy, and it usually tests our faith. Hopefully this series of posts has helped you in some way. One of the best ways to deal with difficult times is to be mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepared for them. That’s what this series of posts was intended to do.

Some life events are truly devastating, and it is impossible to adequately prepare for them. But our faith in God and his provision, understanding the causes of evil, and remembering that God loves us can help us when those terrible times come. As additional words of encouragement, let me end by reading this passage from 1 Peter 5:9-11:

[Be] steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen. NRSV

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