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A daily dose of encouragement from Pastor David Chadwick. 

  • David Chadwick

We are completing our two week study on suffering. This final point on suffering is one of the greatest keys I have found to overcoming suffering: have a constant awareness of the thereness of God. The presence of God changes everything. God is our refuge and strength. He is described as an ever present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1). He is with us in the pain. His presence is the present. And Jesus is fully present in the moment of pain. When you pass through the waters, God is with you. The rivers will not overwhelm you. The fires will not burn you. “The Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” is with you and for you (Isaiah 43:2-3). Jesus promised he would be with us until he returns (Matthew 28:20). He promised never to leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Isaiah 64:8 says that God is the potter and we are clay. He can mold our pain for gain. In fact, the wonder and mystery of grace is that Jesus takes all of our bad and gives us all of his good. So, where we have pain, he offers healing. Where we are afraid, he gives peace. Where we feel defeated, he gives victory. When we are weak, we are actually strong (2 Corinthians 12:10). God promises vindication and victory in all things (Isaiah 54:17). Believe him. Even when you don’t feel like it. Choose to say, “I trust you, my Lord.” My dear friend Travis Greene has a song called “Watch Him Turn It.” The lyrics say, “Stand still. Watch him turn it. The devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But we serve a God who does much more than we could ever imagine. Whatever happens, it’s working. He’s turning it around right now. Watch him work.” I would encourage you to take these truths to heart amidst your suffering and pain. Believe. Trust. Seek Jesus’s constant presence. Have awareness of the thereness. And watch our great God work.

  • David Chadwick

We are finishing up today and tomorrow with a couple of final thoughts on suffering. I hope it has been helpful to further understand why suffering exists in our world and to know what God says about how to navigate it. These last two days aren’t reasons for suffering, but rather some conclusive thoughts.

Remember that suffering either breaks our backs or bends our knees. If you think it is your job to carry the weight of suffering, it will crush you. Remaining stiff and upright in an attempt to shoulder the pain yourself is ultimately pride. Choosing to bow in humility, letting Jesus carry the load for you, will allow you to stand upright once again.

Matthew 13:24-30 reminds us that wheat and weeds will grow up in fields side by side. Interestingly, they look exactly the same until wheat sprouts what are called ears. The one other thing that sets wheat apart is that wheat bows when it reaches maturity, while weeds, or tares, stay stiff and upright.

When the storms of life come, they will either make us bitter, battered or better. If we try to lean on our own strength and understanding, we will become bitter. We will be battered to cynicism and despair.

But if we allow suffering to remind us that we are not in control and release our lives to the Lord, we will become better. Stronger. Less prideful. More able to continue through life and help others walking through similar sufferings (2 Corinthians 1:4).

Always remember. Christians worship a God on a cross. Through suffering, Jesus received a resurrection life. A glorious victory!

We, too, are promised a similar eternal victory. That’s God’s desire as well for those who love him and have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

  • David Chadwick

There are so many reasons why suffering happens. While it helps give us a framework for what is going on in this broken world, it doesn’t make the pain any less. In addition to some of the reasons we have been talking through, we also suffer when God disciplines us. Ouch. This one is not fun. Hebrews 12:11-13 says, “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” If you had a good, loving, honest earthly father, you know that Godly correction is normal and even necessary in a healthy home. Kids love boundaries and discipline is often the tool needed to help them stop destructive behavior. Momentary discipline can save children from harm and a lifetime of pain. Our heavenly Father disciplines us for these reasons as well. Its purpose? To give us the “peaceful fruit of righteousness” mentioned above. God wants us to live in the right standing with him and with others. This honors him. While it can be painful, choose to yield to the loving and fruitful discipline of your heavenly Father. Yes, it hurts at the moment. But know that it is only because he loves you and wants the best for you. If you never got to experience the unconditional love of an earthly father, I pray that you will have an encounter with your heavenly Father that will change you forever. Allow him to show you what true love is. 1 Corinthians 13 is a great place to start. He is patient. Kind. Long-suffering. His love is not rude or irritable. It does not rejoice in wrongdoing but only with the truth. As you understand how much he loves you, you will be able to receive his discipline with the deep understanding that it will ultimately produce character, which produces hope (Romans 5:4-5). A loving eternal Daddy does sometimes discipline his children, but only for our good and his glory.

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