Monday, February 27, 2012

Set Apart

Yesterday's sermon at church was so incredibly moving. I'm sure I've read Romans 8:14-25 several times before, but this time new light was shed on it for me. It's about believers who go through suffering. Suffering is inevitable for believers because Christ also suffered. But be encouraged that all suffering is temporary. If not relieved in this earthly life, you will certainly be free of suffering in the eternal life (assuming you are a believer in Christ).

It can be difficult to understand sometimes why you are suffering - what's the purpose of it? The main purpose is to show that you, as a believer, are set apart. You are in this world, but not of it. Non-believers will look at you going through suffering, and hopefully they will see someone who does not lose faith. Who does not curse God or others for their circumstances or always play the victim. Who does not give up and become bitter and angry. Hopefully they will see someone who does not allow the suffering to define who they are. They will see someone who still has a never-ending capacity in their heart to love others and praise God for all His glory. They will see someone who has a heart of joy and hope when there is no logical reason to have such a heart. That, my friend, is the main purpose.

There are also valuable lessons to learn through suffering. Your character is refined and strengthened through suffering (Romans 5:1-5; James 1:2-7). For me personally, I have been humbled, grown in faith in God's unlimited power, become more sensitive to others and their suffering, and have such a tremendous gratitude for the blessing that children are. I think having gone through infertility, I will have so much more gratitude than the average mother who didn't struggle at all to conceive. I believe this suffering has convicted me of how often I complain about inconsequential things. It will certainly make me think twice before complaining about my child being sick, fussy, feeling nauseous, etc. I would gladly vomit everyday if it meant I would experience the joy of carrying a child into this world (and trust me, I HATE to throw up!) When you go through a period of suffering, (hopefully) your entire perspective changes. You gain an ability to view life from a heavenly perspective.

More importantly, with suffering, there is always room for hope. There is hope that you will see an end to the season of suffering. Hope that you will come out of it with a sense of relief and accomplishment. Hope that the suffering was worth it to get to where you are today. And most importantly, there is hope in our God who is waiting to embrace you with open arms when you enter His kingdom. Your suffering will end one day, so never give up the flame of hope in your heart.

If you'd like to listen to the sermon, click here and search for The Spirit-led Life - Part 2 that was on 2/26/2012 that covered Romans 8:14-25.

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