As we recently discussed in The Meaning of Suffering devotional, the painful events in our lives help strengthen us, help lead us, even help us witness and minister to those around us. One of the saddest ‘arguments’ people sometimes have about God is that He ‘allows’ the world to suffer, to tear itself apart, to wreak utter havoc on others. But, suffering is actually a personal thing, unique to each of us. While a crowd or group of people may be viewed as ‘suffering’, it is quite possible that one or more of those individuals is actually ‘at peace’ in that suffering.
Now, not having given up but having actual peace. See… God tells us in Matthew 28:20 that we should be “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.“, which is a somber reminder that He is right there with you in your suffering, in your anguish, in your very state of lonely confusion… He is with you ‘always’, without exception! That is precisely how/why you will have peace in your sorrow and suffering.
I once knew a person who would ‘not’ pray for patience, because he knew that the Bible states, ‘…the trying of your faith worketh patience’ and he just did not want any trials, pain, suffering or anguish in his life. But our Lord has promised, without exception to be with you always. In fact, a rather long passage in Hebrews 12:1-2 reminds us; “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, (2) Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
He is the author (started it) and finisher of our faith! Our faith is the result of trails (suffering) and He is always with us through these trials. Remember, as the end of verse two states, He looked beyond the cross (pending pain, suffering, humiliation) to the joy that was to come (snuggle up next to God on His throne!). His Father did not ‘keep’ Him from suffering, but remained right there with Him through the suffering (though Jesus did ‘feel’ abandoned)… His Unexceptional Presence can provide you the peace and the strength to look beyond the woes, the struggles, the suffering… regardless of the crowd around you.