Recently I spoke on the topic, ‘When Jesus doesn’t make sense’. I reminded our church that Jesus might be saying wait, He may be working in our suffering and always he reminds us of the wonder of the gospel in those times.
In many ways it was a message about dealing with suffering. Sometimes that suffering comes in the form of unanswered prayers and sometimes just the distress of not knowing why Jesus isn’t doing what you would expect.
The good news is while we are not free from troubles as a Christian, we are also not helpless in those troubles.
I read recently that one of the key reasons Christianity thrived in the early centuries was that it offered hope in suffering. Most world religions and philosophies say we should avoid suffering or detach from our suffering. Certainly modern day life tells us the life for life to be good, everything should be peaches.
Christianity has a wildly different world view that doesn’t run away from suffering, doesn’t deny suffering but actually allows believers to move toward it.
Think about Jesus. He walked toward suffering. On the cross he didn’t deny his suffering , he was crying out to God. Christians now had a model of how to work through suffering. Christianity says that while we don’t have to deny it, there is something far more important than this earthly suffering because we have an eternal destiny that lies in front of us. This allowed the early century Christians during the time of the plagues to stay and care while others ran literally for the hills. Sometimes they would die themselves. They figured death wasn’t that big a deal when compared with their awaiting resurrection in Christ.
If you are suffering today, by all means we can call out to God in our distress and I have no shame in asking for his intervention. But we have a greater hope found in Christ that means our suffering, even at its greatest, pales when compared to the hope we have in Him.