I think I was supposed to write more entries last week. (I don’t think I was, I know I was.) I guess blogging falls down the priority list from time to time (especially the times where I fall asleep much earlier than expected). On to Sunday!
Suffering. Some Sundays are easier than others to preach. This was one of those. Preaching about pain, hurt, disease, and our hope in Christ through those things. Everybody hurts. Everybody suffers. May hope for the Christian is that she doesn’t see it as meaningless and, more importantly, doesn’t see it as worth much compared to the coming King.
(HT to Jeff Medders for showing me this video. John Piper references 2 Corinthians 4:17 in his sound byte).
So our Sunday focused on suffering, and the hope of the return of Jesus in it. . .
Unfortunately, many people like to pretend life is good (great, even). I hope those people mean it, but I fear they simply don’t want to talk about what is really going on. Honestly looking at our lives, and then looking at how the Scriptures speak to our condition is a balm for our suffering. Ignoring suffering accomplishes nothing; but looking at our Savior and obeying our Savior in the midst of our suffering accomplished a great good for our own soul and Christ’s own glory.
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18
That means two main things:
- Our hope should be anchored in the return of Jesus. How much of your day rests on anticipating a returning Savior? That promise of Christ’s Second Advent served as the context of understanding life for the early Christian.
- The stronger our hope in Christ’s return, the lighter our suffering. Be careful how you read that. Our suffering doesn’t become less with our hope anchored in Christ’s return. Rather, our suffering weighs less (translation: our joy in the return of Jesus becomes stronger in our lives than the pain of our suffering).
My hope and prayer for my church family is that we become a people who delight in Jesus more than complaining about our broken bodies, hurt families, past pain, and current trials. I want us to be honest about those things, to really feel them, but to think about them through the lens of Christ. Jesus died for more than that. His death puts meaning on our hurts, and his return gives contact to our present suffering.
And in all things, he is good.