Comfortable Suffering

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Ephesians 2:8–10 (NASB 95)

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Examine / Explain

We are never capable of doing enough good deeds to earn heaven. We are broken people with a nature of sin, incapable of being perfect. So God sent a perfect substitute to take our place in death for sin. Because of this, salvation is a gift purchased with the blood of Jesus. It is grace-given and not earned. All we must do is believe it. Living out that belief takes us walking a path of good works and being the example of Jesus’s selflessness to others, a pattern, if you will. One that was set in motion before time existed. 

How do I apply this to my life?

Reflecting on this, I realize that I am not a random creation but a purposeful masterpiece crafted by the hands of the Creator. In my rebellious youth, I often overlooked this truth, but now, I strive to live in the light of this understanding. And now, living in the light of salvation, I see how He is still crafting His creation. Life is all about pain management! How do we cope with the suffering we endure? With a savior, we invent and cling to anything that can calm our minds. Sex, drugs, alcohol, porn, and masturbation distract us from the truth. We have a God-sized hole inside of us. We live in that uncomfortable state until, hopefully, one day, we find that we need the true savior, Jesus the Messiah. The Prince of Peace. The perfect sacrificial lamb of God. His hands out, stretched with the gift of grace and salvation. All it takes is faith and belief to accept His gift. Does the acceptance of His gift turn off the pain? Does it reduce the suffering? No! He lets us know that despite the suffering, there is something greater. As people, we want an “easy button.” “God, get me out of the pain!” ” God, if you do this for me, I will never do that again.” When we look from the perspective of “God, what should I learn from this?” the pain becomes the teacher. The suffering becomes the avenue that points us back to the savior. Our problem is that we lose focus. Or the sounds of the war disorient us and keep us locked in on the pain. The battlefield is our mind, and when life be lifen, when the enemy has made it to our ears, when the propaganda is believed, and we start losing battles in a war that has already been won. We have lost sight of the victory. It seems too far away, and I only care about the battle I’m in and how the outcome will affect my life. Jesus is greater than what I’m going through! Jesus is greater than my feeling! Jesus is greater than finding relief from the pain I am experiencing! I’m not saying He doesn’t care, and there won’t be any moments where the battle subsides. I’m saying that He wants us to involve Him in the battle. He already has a plan for winning, even if I lose. The victory is still His. The Glory is God, no matter what!

What is my response?

Father, I have walked across the Red Sea and built a golden calf. As your people we are so fragile, fickle, and forgetful. I have been so distracted by the war raging around me that I have lost sight of You. I have taken up my sword, charged full speed into the fight, and left you standing behind me. You have given gifts and abilities to impact the world. I’ve been using them without You. I have not consulted with you on the use of the gifts. I don’t turn to You fast enough when the fight gets hard. I don’t seek Your wise counsel when I get lost. I sit with You but don’t tell You enough. I read Your words, but don’t listen to what they tell me. You are with me, and I can’t see You. I’m blind; my eyes are skewed by past trauma and pain. I know but do I believe and trust? Open my eyes to Your truth. Steal my focus off the here and now, and let us work for the eternal. Let me do it where You want me to do it! In the community, You set before me. Not the one I chose because of my own need to feel comfortable. Break me! Let me be the clay in the potter’s hands. Soften me and mold me! Let not my suffering be in vain; I can use it to turn the world upside down. Amen!






One response to “Comfortable Suffering”

  1. John Upmeyer Avatar
    John Upmeyer

    Good stuff!

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