Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sources of Suffering

“Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your brothers in the world. Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little while.” (1 Peter 5:9-10)

Human suffering appears to come from at least two sources. One source is Satan. Peter admonishes us, “Be sober! Be on the alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) He preys on those who succumb to his temptations toward sin. Anyone who “bites the fruit,” so to speak, as Adam and Eve did, will experience suffering in one form or another. Sin invariably brings suffering, which is why Peter charges us to resist him and stand firm in our faith. Earlier in his letter, Peter also said that we should be sure that any suffering we go through not be the result of some sin we have committed. Being clear-minded and watchful against sin, and then resisting it and standing firm in our union with Christ is the solution to this level of suffering.

Another source of suffering, which is equally traceable to sin, is the kind that comes at the hands of others. One of the reasons Peter wrote this letter, in fact, was because “for a short time now you have had to be distressed by various trials.” (1 Peter 1:6) Those trials and sufferings came from those who were opposed or hostile to the Christian faith. Again, sin is the culprit, but it is the sin of others. But again, we have a promise. The God of all grace will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support us after we have endured suffering for a time. If we in fact suffer because of the sin of others, the Lord will use that in our lives to make us stronger, which is the only reason He allows it at all.

So, all suffering is related to sin in one way or another. Even if our own sin is not involved directly, the fact is that the general fallen condition of mankind that resulted from the sin of Adam and Eve is at least involved in suffering. Therefore, the Lord’s call through this Scripture is that we be sober, alert, and resistant toward sin and Satan, so we will know victory regardless of any suffering that may occur.

Lord, The victory is Yours, and we thank You for sharing it with us. Amen.

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