Tag Archives: suffering

Comfort in You

As we looked at Sunday, Father, I am grateful for the freedom that has been given me –not just in the country in which I live but most importantly the freedom You have extended to me. I am no longer a slave to sin but have been set free because of Your sacrifice. May I never take it for granted. Amen.

Revelation 2:10-11 (<<click green)

How we respond to pain and suffering makes all the difference, Lord. I think that it is interesting that when we are afflicted, we either allow it to turn us from You or draw us to You – either we blame You for permitting our pain and suffering or we find comfort in Your arms in the midst of it.

The enemy of our souls, the devil, has controlled the hearts of minds of much of humanity for so long that none of us can avoid affliction in our own lives. Disease, oppression, violence, hatred, greed, selfishness – sin is rampant. Satan instigated it and continues to egg it on and You, Lord, get the blame.

From the beginning, we were warned. And once we succumbed to Satan’s enticements, You extended a means of reconciliation. You gave of Yourself, not because of any sin You committed, but solely out of love for us. And we still want to blame You for our pain and suffering.

We have made our beds and we must sleep in them. We cannot avoid the problems of this world. All we can do is to come to You. We can find solace only in You. If we will “remain faithful even when facing death, [You] will give [us] the crown of life.”

Lord, help me to not place the blame at Your feet for the evils of this world but to embrace the peace found only in You. Amen.

July 4th, Tues, 6:55 am

I Choose Joy

Sleep is heavy in my eyes this morning, Father, despite the cold water in my face. Help me to hear Your words for me this day.

Revelation 1:9 (<<click green)

If I were to ask anyone who has read the New Testament to any degree to give me a description of the Apostle John, I doubt anyone would describe him as dour, grumpy or melancholy. He most certainly would not be labeled with an Eeyore personality.

Even when I read today’s passage, Lord, I don’t see discouragement or anxiety – there is no doom and gloom mentality. Though I see the words “suffering” and “endurance” and “exiled”, in my mind’s eye I see a man of joy, determination, and love. The “disciple who Jesus loved” is much like his Master. His attitude toward life remains consistent regardless of his circumstances.

John was no more perfect that I am but at this point in his life – and he was probably in his 90’s – he had experienced enough of the ups and downs of life that there is no pretense. He is who he is – a man at peace with himself, his world and his Lord.

I pray, Lord, that I am like John – at least a good part of the time. I have never been imprisoned (Acts 4) or placed in exile but we all have our trials. I do lose my cool on occasion. I ponder my lot in life and wonder if it will ever change. Overall, I am content with wherever I find myself. But one thing I most definitely can attest to – this joy is not a natural response to my life and circumstances. My joy – as John’s – is found in my relationship with You, Lord.

The chorus of an old hymn comes to mind,

There is joy, joy
Joy in serving Jesus.
Joy that throbs within my heart

Every moment, every hour
As I draw upon His power
There is joy, joy
Joy that never shall depart.

May I ever draw upon Your power, Lord. Amen.

June 13th, Tues, 6:34 am

A Gate for the Sheep

Father, thank You for a good night’s sleep and for reminding me to get by blog ready to post right after I was up. I appreciate Your touch in my life – having that guidance and direction is most definitely a blessing. Amen.

1 Peter 2:25 (<<click here)

“Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.”

Lord, thinking of You as my Shepherd bring only good thoughts – comforting thoughts. The 23rd Psalm and Your teachings in John 10 come to mind. Peter’s words of shepherd and guardian make me think of John 10:6-10 which speak of you being the “gate for the sheep.”

In biblical times shepherds would construct a corral quite often topped with thorny brambles to ward off thieves and predators. These corrals would have narrow entrances through which a single sheep could enter and exit. Once the sheep were safely in the fold the shepherd would often place his body over the entrance to protect them.

Lord, that’s what You do for me. You are my shepherd. You are my guardian. You laid down Your life so that I might live.

Once again (and I don’t think this will ever cease to amaze me!) You tied in my opening thoughts with what you want to teach me. As my Shepherd, You guide and direct me. Life does not cease to unfold around me and just because You are my Shepherd does not necessarily mean that calamity or suffering will not come – but You will be by my side through it all. Things and people may attack – my body and mind may be injured or I may even be killed but you are the Guardian of my soul. Nothing can ever separate me from Your love (Romans 8:31-39). I am secure in Your hands.

Dead to Sin

Father, I need more of Your help this morning. I praise You for Your touch earlier but I am dependent upon You to get me through the rest of this day. You are the solid rock upon which I build my life. I know I will not fail if my eyes are kept on You. Thank You, Father.

1 Peter 2:21-25 (<<click here)

Lord, we don’t like anything that makes us uncomfortable but this life is full of struggle and pain. Many things come our way that we have no control over. There are times, too, when we bring suffering upon ourselves – we sin and often it is just because we do things that are not too bright. But as my study Bible* points out we often suffer but that’s not what Peter is speaking of here.

Using Christ as the ultimate example, he is speaking of suffering for doing good. Christ did not sin. He led a life of service and love. Even when he was confrontational with the religious leaders of his day, it was not done out of hate but out of love. He was trying to wake them up – trying to bring them from the darkness into light.

So, You Lord, were sinless but just because You did everything right that didn’t mean You could avoid suffering for the good You did. And no one could have blamed You if You had struck out in retaliation or revenge. You surely had the power to do so…but You didn’t. You left the judging to Your Father – who always does so fairly. Regardless of the pain, You did what needed to be done – You carried our sins to the cross – every single one of them. So that, as Peter says “we can be dead to sin and live for what is right.”

Lord, help me to die to sin and to “live for what is right.” It will not always be sunshine and roses but You will be with me all along the way, for You have already traveled the path and You will not forsake me. Amen.

Dec 13th, Tues, 5:25 am

*New Living Translation Life Application Bible

Me and Oranges

I come to sit with You this morning, Father, and I am in need of Your touch. I am weary and slow of mind. Speak to me. Invigorate me. I need You, today.

James 5:10-11 (<<click here)

Lord, You definitely brought a smile to my face! I sit here pondering what You would have me learn from these verses the speak of “patience in suffering” and you toss me an orange!

Oranges are wonderful pieces of fruit. Their color is vibrant – bursting with life. They are intricate in their design. A bitter rind encases segments of fruit that are both tart and sweet. And it doesn’t just taste good, it’s good for you! A refreshing treat to say the least.

So what in the world does an orange have to do with “patience in suffering”? To get to the pleasing beneficial portion You have to get through the bitter portion. I realize the rind can be used in baking but most of us remove it to get to the fruit we cut through it or peel it off.

If you think of it from the orange’s perspective that whole process can’t be pleasant. If we were oranges – removing the rind of our situations would involve a fair amount of suffering. When I peel an orange I like to remove as much of that white membrane under the rind as well. And that takes patience.

Often in life, we go through difficult times. Quite often there is quite a lot of pain and suffering that we must endure – sickness, disease, death, relationship issues, job struggles, persecution for our faith, sometimes things turn out the way we want – other times we are left to pick up the pieces. We may even have to deal with great loss. But as we look back over our lives we don’t necessarily look at our suffering with smiles but on many occasions, we can see the fruit that came from those difficult times.

We are stronger. We are better able to empathize with others going through times of suffering. Hopefully, we have allowed those times to draw us closer to You, Lord. If anyone knows “patience in suffering”, it is You.

Oct 7th, Fri, 6:39 am