My Journal for Today: Yesterday in my devotional journal I reflected on the reality that often it is hard to remember God’s love and to trust that He wants the best for His children, especially when we’re confronted with horrible circumstances. I can’t even imagine how difficult it might have been to remain faithful and positive, trusting steadfastly in God, in the midst of the suffering endured by Christians through that horrible far eastern Christmas eve tsunami or after hurricane Katrina when it hit the Gulf Coast. And even here I sit this morning with a grandchild in the hospital fighting off a severe case of pneumonia where the doctors are considering surgery to relieve the pressure of fluid leaking from her lungs into the pleural sacs. So, it’s difficult this morning for yours truly, and I’m sure the mother of our grandchild, our daughter to have enjoyed a Mother’s Day yesterday with her child in the hospital suffering.
Intellectually, I can see what the Apostle James wrote about in James 1: 2 – 3 … that suffering helps to produce endurance in faith …
SCRIPTURE: James 1: 2- 4 … 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
How difficult it is – within our own mind/strength – to “consider it pure joy” when we’re encountering trials and suffering. I think any rational person, with any degree of life experience, would say that we learn the most and do, in fact, develop perseverance more readily from trials than from the smooth and easy times. However, that doesn’t make it any easier to choose to be joyful and faithful in the midst of troubles or pain.
However, Peter is teaching in today’s passage, and we must accept, that our completion (i.e., sanctification) as Christians will take place as we experience suffering in Christ’s Name and for His sake; and we do so that we might one day reign with Him in glory (see also 1st Tim. 2: 12). Christ suffered the most for God, the Father; and now He has been raised to the highest position, at the right hand of God. And like James and John had to learn (see Matt. 20: 20 – 23), … in fact all of Christ’s disciples had to learn and accept that we must become suffering servants, as was Christ (again read Isaiah 53), so that we can be come elevated and glorified as Christ was in heaven.
Therefore, to the degree that I’m willing to serve our Lord and to suffer for Him, denying self. and seeking to follow our Savior, I will be lifted up to a more exalted role of lauding Him in heaven.
My Prayer Today: Worthy is the Lamb!!! Amen