In preparing for a message that I will be preaching this coming Wednesday night, I wanted to share a few thoughts with you concerning triumph and suffering. I am looking forward to sharing with our congregation, a message of hope that will encourage people who are struggling. God has something special planned for you!
We don’t often associate triumph with suffering. In fact, they are considered to be on opposite sides of the spectrum. One is considered the highest of highs, while the other is considered the lowest of lows. Yet Scripture teaches us that there is triumph in suffering! I know what your thinking…”How?” Let me tell you… But first, let’s talk about suffering.
Suffering is not a popular subject to talk about especially in the arena of Christianity. In a day and age when the blessings of God are spoken of more than suffering for the faith, it’s no wonder that many people are surprised and become deeply discouraged when suffering comes. Especially when it is unjust and unfounded suffering at the hands of others. Yet Jesus said that we should expect that persecutions and trials will come to believers for and in spite of their faith.
How do we handle suffering when we have been abandoned, persecuted, or belittled in our faith? Christ’s perfect example of suffering unjustly and through that, accomplishing the glorious saving purpose of God, should give believers hope and confidence for the triumph of God’s purpose in the midst of their own suffering. God in his providence, is always accomplishing his eternal will and plan, even in spite of the times of suffering and the times of joy.
Through the cross, Jesus showed us his ability to triumph over sin, to proclaim the victorious message, to give a complete salvation, and show his supremacy over all things. Because of his triumph on the cross, we have a victory that is freely given to us and a hope that will last eternal.
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 2 Corinthians 2:14 (ESV)
(Excerpts from a message that I will share at Tecumseh First Assembly of God on March 18, 2015)