“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”1 Chronicles 16:34 NIV
“When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison.”Acts 24:27 NIV
Two very different stories of how struggle ends. We have read over the last month of how King David cried out to God for mercy and God granted it! God saved him. God provided what he needed. It wasn’t easy, but in the end it was good! King David danced in front of the Ark of the Covenant with such joy at what God had done.
Then Paul. Paul was consistently obedient. Paul proclaimed the truth of God boldly and compassionately. He was a wise leader who suffered with such grace. And what we see in Acts is not good. We see him left to suffer in prison. We see him being used as a pawn for the powerful.
Two stories. Two men. Two different points in their suffering. It leaves me wondering “what do we do, God?” What do we do when the suffering doesn’t end? What do we do when the healing doesn’t come? What do we do when the relationship isn’t restored? There is no promise in scripture that God will protect us from all hurt and pain.
What do we do?
There isn’t one thing to do. There are things that will sustain us and support us and encourage us…let’s do those things.
- Like David, honestly cry out to God about your suffering.
- Like Paul, pray without ceasing.
- Like David, speak boldly of your hurt and pain.
- Like Paul, humbly face your accusers, persecutors, and tormentors.
- Like David, worship God.
- Like Paul, speak boldly.
- Like David, remember who your God is.
We will always have suffering. Suffering is a human condition. None of us is immune to it. Our Jesus suffered unimaginable pain and rejection. And…we are not alone. We suffer together. We worship our never changing God together. We are sustained because of who He is.
Dear God, thank you for your promise to never leave us in our suffering. Right now God, those who are suffering need your spirit to meet them in the pain and the fear and the hurt. May they be filled with your presence. May they know they are not alone. Father, save us from the suffering we are enduring in this moment. Amen.