Gary Delashmutt on Stewarding our Suffering

Two errors on suffering: Asceticism (Suffering is good and to be sought) and Hedonism (Suffering is bad and to be avoided).

Philippians 1:29 says “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him.”

The cross of Christ sanctifies our sufferings.  It has a central and redemptive place in his glory.

Why are sufferings a precious resource? 

Phil 3:10-11 speaks of the fellowship of knowing him in his suffering.  When we know suffering deepens our relationship, suffering loses its sting.  “Christians are like nails; the harder you hit them, the deeper (into communion with Jesus) they go.”

Suffering refutes Satan’s lie that we only serve Him because
he blesses us.

Suffering transmits Jesus through us to others.  He goes to work in our weakness.  A grain of wheat that dies bears much fruit.

Even as a veteran minister, Paul says in II Corinthians 12 that God had to give him suffering so that he would learn not to rely upon himself.  The thorn was allowed to keep him from exalting himself.  Sin is self
coronation.  Suffering refines character and hope (Romans 5).

How can suffering be managed for God’s glory?

Don’t be surprised by suffering as though it were odd or unexpected (I Peter 4:12).  Life is war.  It’s a lot of suffering with occasional reprieve.  It’s our own paradigms that tell us life is basically smooth sailing with occasional bumps.

Don’t be stoic either.  Romans 8:15 tells us to run to him as Daddy.  Run fast to him when you are in pain.

Feel free to ask for deliverance.  Paul asked three times for deliverance, but
had to accept a “no.”  God may want to manifest his goodness to you by delivering you from suffering, so ask.

Unpack.  When God has made it clear you are to stay in a situation; then accept it and live there.  It is not passive or a position of resignation; creatively advance his kingdom where you’re at.

Study how others have responded to suffering (Hebrews 11).  Arm yourself to suffer death.  Readiness for death makes you nearly impossible to stop.

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