23rd MARCH 2020“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” – 2 Timothy 4:7-8
Why do we suffer disaster and despair? The reasons we suffer are multidimensional, and certainly, God permits suffering upon His Saints in His wisdom, and in fact, nobody on earth is immune against suffering. It is true that some people seem to suffer more than the others, the nature and quantum of suffering are known to God before it occurs. Although, as humans, we are pained and taken by surprise, God certainly knows about it ahead of time. Our attitude and natural tendency are to avoid suffering and disasters in any way we can, and as Christians, we endeavor to live the good life in obedience to the word of God primarily to avoid suffering and mistakes. In all that we do, we are called to account. There are no escape routes from accounting for our deeds because God sees all our actions. Our freewill to live as we pleased sometimes misleads us thereby warranting God to put us on the check when we go astray. God talks regularly to us, but His warnings go unnoticed due to our lusts; we are caught in between doing our will as against doing the will of God. Controlling our moral weaknesses is a major problem, as we drift deeper and deeper into our inner void, yearning to be filled by wrong appetites. Thus, the greatest burden that we bear is the accumulated baggage of sensual complications arising from persistent disobedience to God’s word. God has a purpose for His children which is to become perfect by aligning us with the image of Christ. The journey to Christhood is a thorny one by the way of the cross and through the cup of the suffering of Jesus Christ. This is the main reason that the scriptures teach us to look at suffering as one of God’s tools to teach and mold our faith so we can become Christlike.
At the point, we decided to follow Jesus in obedience and sacrifice, we have also chosen to drink from His cup of suffering; NOT to suffer and die like He did for us, BUT by reason of the mystery of His death and resurrection, to gain power to overcome suffering and death on our journey through life to the celestial city. When you undertake to become a disciple of Christ, you are expected to follow him in obedience and sacrifice in order to develop your faith to maturity and perfection. Therefore, God will commence the supernatural work of transforming you into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ, who was and is perfect. (Ref: 8:29.) As you mature in faith, God uses tests and trials to develop your characters, especially, in the areas of your weaknesses, which constantly falls upon the fire crucible for refinement so you can become an image of Christ.
Beloved, like Paul, we are expected to fight the good fight and run the full course in strict obedience to the word of God, amidst tests and trials. We are not matured Christians or Christlike if we are yet to run the full course of the race that leads to complete alignment with Christ! Therefore, step by step, the image of Christ is made to unfold in us as we periodically drink of His cup, NOT the cup of suffering, but of victory! Paul tells us today, that whatever happens to us, God knows about it; He permitted it, and it is necessary at this time. But not too long from now, victory is assured!
Father in the name of Jesus Christ, I thank you for this infirmity and travails, I ask for thy grace to overcome the various vicissitudes confronting me at the moment. Father, I know that you have permitted this trial to occur. Therefore, I purge myself of all moral weaknesses and I declare that I am sanctified by the power of the Holy Spirit. I bear no grudge against anyone. I freely forgive all those who wronged me. Therefore, I am free from every bondage of ill-health, emotional trauma and psychological prison. From this moment onward, I overcome every inner and outer void standing between me and the fulfillment of your plan and purpose for me. I am victorious and I remain a conqueror. Thank you, father, for giving me a new life. AMEN.
FURTHER READING: Romans 5:3–5; Hebrews 5:8; Matthew 19:21.