Eight Days of Back to Basics: 7. Rejoicing in Suffering

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“A lot of people try to pray their troubles away,” Ben reflected. “I’m not advertising that we should not pray some troubles away. I’m just saying that our obsession with having a trouble-free life by rebuking all manner of trouble, regardless of discernment, is not the way it should be.”

“Sometimes when you rebuke trouble nothing happens because you are actually rebuking God, who has allowed the trouble to happen in order to work for our good,” Doug explained. He opened his Bible and read aloud from James 1: “‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.’ And then over in Matthew 5:11 it says, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.’

“You see, trials and hardships can be a purpose of the Lord in our lives. Hebrews 12 really draws this point out…I am going to read verses 5-11: ‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him. For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives. It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.’

We need to understand that in the world we will have trouble, but we take courage because Jesus has overcome the world and has given us His peace. We have to have our identity in Christ because that is where the peace is. We can’t have peace that passes understanding in the world in the midst of tribulation and suffering outside of Christ.”

“I like how you just read that Scripture and then just moved on,” smiled Tim. “I thought you were going to explain it, but you just went on to your next thought. You’re right. It doesn’t really need explaining; it’s quite clear. One thing I’d like to point out, though, is that it plainly says to ‘endure hardship as discipline,’ not to wait for God to tell you if your hardship is discipline. If Romans 8:28 tells us, ‘All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose,’ then I can accept any kind of hardship, or ‘trials of many kinds,’ as discipline for my ultimate good.”

“That’s fortunate,” said Doug, “because my second point is this: I’ve noticed that life is a series of problems. Every time you solve one, another is waiting.

For eight days I’m posting excerpts from each of the eight chapters in Back to Basics: Eight Foundations for Kingdom Living, the book I co-authored with Doug Roberts and Ben Pasley.

Each day I’m also going to give one 50% refund on the price of the book to the first person to gift a copy of Back to Basics to a friend from our merchandise page at our store..

December 7, 2011