If you were away from us at The Journey Church this past weekend here is what you missed:
As we enter our last week of our MY YEAR series, we will be preaching over the 12 spiritual formation markers that we want our church to abide by. The 12th spiritual formation we talked about this past weekend was:
An absolute trust of God’s sovereignty through suffering
Something’s not right
The world in which we live in is filled with so much beauty and wonders. Experiencing the joy that nature, art, family, technology, food, music, entertainment and outdoor activities brings us, points to an amazing Creator. Unfortunately, these life giving joys are so often interrupted by pain, suffering, and trials. When we experience all of the negative aspects of life such as death, heartbreaks, diseases, abuse, and natural disasters, our hearts start to realize that something is not right in this world. There is so much beauty, but there is also so much ugliness in this world. For every joyful experience, we can look back on the memory of pain we have endured. When we look into the future and ponder our wildest dreams, there is a fear of something coming and ruining them.
Every heart has experienced pain in some way and our expression of this pain is a cry out to this world in searching for answers. We know something is not right and it is because God has set eternity in man’s heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11). This means our hearts desire to live for eternity, which is why death is so painful. If our heart desires to live for eternity, than it is needless to say that our heart also desires to experience nothing but joy for eternity.
This eternal joy in which we all seek will never be found in this world, but there is hope. Our hope is in Jesus Christ, the God-man who defeated death and cured the curse of this fallen world. All those who are in Christ will receive eternal joy and nothing can take that from us. This fallen world is not our final destination if our soul has been purchased by the blood of Christ. So when those who belong to Christ experience the bite of this fallen world, we have hope. We might not be relieved from our pain in this world, but we will be relieved of all pain in the world to come.
Pain is one of the most powerful blindfolds to get in the way to see the promises of God. Our suffering can easily lead to us pointing our finger at God in blame. We must remember God has never made a mistake. He is not careless on how He governs this world. His sovereign Hand never loses grip on our lives, which means when we go through suffering it is for a reason. The reason is often times left unknown and we must be okay with that. We have this desire to be able to see the blueprints of our lives to see why things happen the way they do, but God does not always reveal such things to us. We see this in the book of John.
“As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” John 9:1-3
Jesus’ disciples wanted to trace why this man was blind but Jesus does not trace it for them. Instead, He points them to God’s glory in working through this man’s brokenness. We might not know why we experience what we experience, but we do know God’s glory is manifested in our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9). If we can trust that God is going to receive glory from our pain, than we are able to place our hopes in His promises. He promises us that every tear will be wiped clean and there will be no more pain (Revelation 21:4). Our hope must be found in His word because that is all we have.
In the meantime
Placing our hope in the future is something we are all called to do as Christians. Paul tells us that the present sufferings cannot compare to the future glory that is coming to us (Romans 8:18). Our hope must be secured in the finished work of Christ. But just because our hope is found in Christ, does not mean the pain goes away. Our pain does not cease when we go through trials, regardless of how much faith and hope we have in Christ. What must we do then when we experience pain? Death from a loved one is extremely painful even when you know you will see them in heaven. Getting diagnosed with cancer is still painful even though one day there will be no more diseases. Here is what Christ is telling us to do in the meantime as we wait on Him to wipe all of our tears.
- Cling to me- Communion with Christ is the cure for every problem~ Charles Spurgeon Matthew 11:28-30
- Rely on me- He is strong in our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9)
- Trust in my wisdom- believe that I have a plan for your pain, do not try and process it and try and understand (Proverbs 3:5-6)
- Long for the day where there will be no more pain (Romans 8:18)
This is what God is telling His children when we suffer. We must anchor our trust in His character. He is eternally good and He promises us we will experience nothing but His goodness when we experience eternity with Him.