Yesterday morning we had a guest Pastor speak at our church. Steve Smith, Assistant Pastor/Youth at Lindworth Baptist Church (not the wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers), spoke on the subject of “Suffering” from the text in Romans 8:17-28. While Romans 8:28 is one of the most quoted verses, suffering is something that none of us want to talk about. Ever.
Below are my notes from the service and the personal application (my take-away).
1. Suffering will be worth it all for our inheritance.
A. New glorified bodies
B. We will rule with Christ
C. We will be with God himself
2. We are not alone in our suffering.
A. Not alone in as the world
B. Not alone as individuals
C. Not alone as Christ (intercedes for us verse 27)
3. God causes all things to work together for good.
A. All believers
B. All things
C. “Good” means forming you into the image of Jesus Christ
Final thought: “God is doing SOMETHING with your suffering”
I marvel at how so often the timing of these things happens. I noted yesterday that there was “not a dry eye in the house” by the end of Steve’s message. A video clip he showed of a story out of Boston might have caused some of that emotion, but the reality is that there were several misty eyes before the video ever rolled. Pain and suffering hit home with every single person I know. Some show it more than others, but while we’re in this world there will be trouble. People are hurting and, dare I say, searching for the promise? It’s there, it just doesn’t appear as we would draw it up.
A year ago I sat with a friend as he fought the terrible disease of cancer. If I am honest, it is so hard to quote Romans 8:28 at times like that. When we’re knee deep in the storm, that is not often the first words that come to mind. Maybe it’s just me but my guess is I am not alone in that. Maybe that is why the Steven Curtis Chapman CD was on constant rotation for me last week too. “Beauty Will Rise” is a collection of 12 songs from a man that knows what suffering is all about. Each song is a journey from pain to ultimate resolution that God is in control. It helped me as the anniversary of my dear friends passing nears.
I included the video above because it has been my prayer for a year. While there are so many stories to come from my friends passing (like the people that accepted Christ as his funeral), one thing I learned was to pray for Gods will…no matter how painful. I am resigned to the fact that I am a finite man trying to understand an infinite God. Trust, faith, understand and surrender are not words that top my list, but that is all a part of this journey. I pray that I am growing stronger in each one every day.
For more, check out the “Video of the Week” posted in the sidebar. It’s a song by Kutless called “I’m Still Yours”.