Theme of the Week: Mission Possible
Bible Verse: “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5 ESV
Scripture Reading: Acts 16:1-40, 1 Peter 4:12
Maybe you read the title of this devotional and thought you may skip it. Enduring suffering feels like Mission Impossible. No one likes to suffer, but we’re mature enough to know that tough times are unavoidable. So, Paul is helping us not ignore the hard things in life.
If you have read Paul’s life through the Bible (read the last half of Acts), you know this is a lesson he has lived frequently. He is encouraging a young leader to suffer well. We can listen too because we all face difficulty, trouble and affliction of various kinds and various degrees in our lives.
Peter likewise talked about the inevitability of difficulty in 1 Peter 4:12 (ESV) “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” Paraphrase: You know suffering will come; prepare yourself to endure. How do we do that? A couple of thoughts for today.
First, Jesus talked about the trouble we would face in this world. But He adds an important caveat, “but I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b). There is no trouble, difficulty, or suffering that Jesus cannot overcome. Lean into His strength and power to suffer well. Ask Him for strength!
Second (and this is one of my favorite stories), in Acts 16, Paul and Silas get arrested and taken to jail. “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them” (Acts 16:25). This is important to consider if we want to face suffering and difficulty well. Paul and Silas weren’t praising their problems. Neither were they complaining about the fact they are stuck in prison for doing God’s. They understood that praising God is not dependent on what God does, but on who He is.
I can get caught in the “praising my problems” perspective and it never helps. Whatever perspective I’m adopting will either slow my faith or grow my faith. Holding up well while suffering needs a growing faith!
Prayer: God, give me strength today to be an overcomer and to outlast the difficulty I’m facing. Help me see You in suffering and turn from my problems to praise.
Reflect: Your mission, if you choose to accept it: What’s God trying to teach you in your suffering? What perspective do you need to get through this time of suffering well?
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