Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Suffer Well

I have greatly enjoyed reading Joe Thorn's book Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself over the past couple weeks. It's a great book and easy to read. The content, however, is encouraging and challenging in many ways. As I was finishing up the book today I read his chapter entitled "Suffer Well." The first paragraph was great:
Dear Self, 
God does not promise to rid your life of affliction and difficulty. He does, however, offer to give you the grace needed to suffer well, and through grace to discover the riches and beauty of the gospel. It isn't wrong to ask God to relieve you of your pain, but it is more important that in the midst of the pain you rely on the promise of God to work such experiences for his glory and your good--to use these times as a means of perfecting your faith, strengthening your spirit, and transforming your life in such a way that you are becoming more like Jesus. 
He goes on to write:
To suffer well doesn't mean you put on a stoic face and muscle through the situation without a word. It means that through your suffering you trust God, bless him, look to him, and point others to him.
He then ends the chapter by writing:
Do you want to become more like Christ? Then you must suffer, and suffer well. 
The chapter is based on Romans 5:3-5:
We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

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