By Katie Pearson
“Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.” – Book of Common Prayer, The Collect for Year B, Proper 23
Think back to a time when you lost something of value. How did you respond? Whether we lose an earring, phone, or wallet, we frantically retrace our steps until we find the beloved object. We even recruit friends and family for help.
But sometimes, we lose something more valuable than material objects. Suffering can come from significant loss, such as a person, a status, or a dream. Our grief disorients us and clouds our identity. We have more questions than answers. Who am I without my job? Why would God allow me to experience such pain? Where is God now? Suffering separates us from the items, relationships, and reputations that we believe define us.
Perhaps you have suffered a recent loss, or you are recovering from the collective and personal losses of the pandemic. Where are you searching for answers? Like most, are you using distractions to cope? Here’s the good news: Scripture is full of examples of godly individuals who endured suffering, yet God did not abandon them. As they stumbled through the darkness with faith, they emerged transformed and restored to even greater intimacy with the Trinity.
How many of us are ready to take that journey? There is a road map, but we may not see the entire path ahead. Faith helps us hold fast to our belief in God, even in our suffering, even when we can’t see him (Hebrews 11:1).
Why does God allow us to suffer? Only God knows. But as Eugene Peterson writes, “Suffering calls our lives into question, not God’s.” When we find ourselves standing in the darkness, our job is to stop stumbling around, cry out to God, and hold onto him in faith.
Faith is the one possession we should cling to with all our being. It alone is the precious possession that will bring us through any trial. We might believe in God, but so do the demons (James 2:9). Our work is to believe in God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. Even if your next step is small, choose to walk with God. Even if you are terrified, doubtful, depressed, or desperate, take one tiny step with Jesus and trust that he knows the path. He is the way, and the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
Suffering can send us into a place of despair and darkness—whether you are experiencing tragedy yourself or watching someone you love experience pain. Just because you feel hopeless doesn’t mean that you are without hope. Cry out to God in faith.
Could you use some hope right now? Join Peter’s first audience—“elect exiles” undergoing persecution—and experience the apostle’s powerful call to follow Jesus in the midst of life’s challenges, knowing your Living Hope is not a distant one, but a daily, glorious, life-giving reality! This unique six-week small group Bible study, A Living Hope: A Study of 1 Peter, helps you uncover the priceless promises written specifically to the struggling and the hurting, with pastoral gentleness and bold confidence for the future. This study of 1 Peter will help you become utterly convinced that Jesus is the only sure, true, incorruptible, and permanent hope for you.
Comments will be approved before showing up.