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God's Working People

You can endure suffering much easier when you remind yourself that you are a temporary resident in this world

God’s Working People
Our Work During Suffering – Part III

Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 1:13-22

Key Verse: 1 Peter 1:17
Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.

One of the reasons the New Testament believers were able to remain faithful during suffering was because they saw themselves as foreigners. This mindset that they were “temporary residents” helped them realize that the suffering was temporary as well.

I know I have used this illustration several times, but it helps us understand this mindset: if anyone thought that going to the gym and working out would never get easier and there would be great pain at every visit, not many would ever go. However, we know that if we stay at it, the pain lessens, and our bodies get stronger. In the same way, if we see ourselves as temporary residents in this world, then whatever this world throws at us, we can manage.

The title of these last few devotionals is “Our Work During Suffering”. In other words, we have work that we must do while we are suffering. God will help us and sustain us, but we are responsible to put forth effort during these times of suffering.

It is easy to feel sorry for ourselves when we suffer; it takes mental effort to rejoice during suffering. This idea of rejoicing is not about the actual suffering; no one rejoices about that. But we can rejoice when we realize this life is temporary and our eternity is forever.

It is easy to blame God or constantly ask “why” when we suffer. It takes work to offer to God our “sacrifice of praise”, as Hebrews 13:15 tells us to do. This verse is referring to those times when God does not answer our prayers the way we hoped, and we are hurting in some way; this is when our praise is a real sacrifice.

It is easy to be angry or bitter toward someone who hurt us with their words or actions. It takes work to forgive them and give them the benefit of doubt.

When we decide to do this hard work, it should be in response to the wonderful gift of God. Jesus suffered so we can be free.

How should we pray when we are in the middle of suffering? It is not wrong to pray for God to relieve our pain. However, we should pray with a “not my will but your will be done” attitude.

The Apostle Paul called God’s will “good, pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2). If we believe this, then we can want God’s will more than relief from our suffering. And we can endure our suffering much easier when we remind ourselves that we are temporary residents in this broken world.

Father, please remind me to see myself as a temporary resident in this world. Remind me of this especially when I am suffering. In Jesus’s Name I pray, amen.