Joy in Suffering
Waking Up The SunPastor Jerry Gillis - February 14, 2016
We can have joy in the midst of our suffering because God is sovereign, purposeful and good.
Community Group Study Notes
- If God is sovereign, if He is purposeful, and if He is good, how should we view suffering in this life? How do we typically respond to suffering? In what ways do our usual reactions demonstrate a lack of trust in Gods sovereignty, His purpose, and His goodness?
- When we trust God in the midst of difficulty, what message does that send to the watching world around us? When we, as disciples of Jesus, dont demonstrate that same trust in difficulty, what message does that send? Why is this important for us to evaluate in our own lives?
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. (James 1:2-3)
Alright, so winter finally showed up. Ah, when I drove in this morning early it was 17 below and so, it was comfortable. So if you're watching us online from another state or another country, uh, 17 below, fahrenheit is outrageous, okay? So, and there's some of you that you know, because of that kind of arctic cold this morning when you woke up, maybe you have small kids or whatever, uh, older, um, whatever and you couldn't make it and so you're watching online, I'll give you a pass today, but it you show up at a restaurant tonight for Valentine's Day and you weren't here this morning. Let me just go ahead and tell you, I will be at every restaurant everywhere. I'm not frozen, I'm just staring you down right now. Let's just be clear, alright?
Alright, now that I've scared everyone, the thing about winter is, we've had not a terrible one so far, last winter was awful. This one hasn't been so bad but it it's for real like now. But winter's in where we live can feel really long. They can also feel really gray, really dark and like they're never gonna' end. Sometimes we just like it would be great if the sun could come out once, that would be awesome.
So, I get it, I know that feeling, I know what it feels like, but what we're doing here is nothing compared to Svalbard, Norway. I'm sure you were thinking about them on your way in. Here's the deal. It's an archipelago that is located in the Arctic Ocean, okay, it's right off of Norway. and it's about half way between mainland Europe and the North Pole and there are people, there's humans that actually live there, but because of the way the sun tilts on its axis from mid-November to late January no sun at all. Nothing. It's dark the whole time. Could you imagine a few months where it's dark all the time, like the whole time, dark. They actually refer to this as some of the folks from there and some of those who observe it, they call it eternal night because that's what it is, right? You're just living in darkness for a very long time. Now, the upside of living there is that if you make it through that, and eventually you do, is that once the days start to get you a little bit of sunlight then a little more sunlight and then a little more sunlight, by the time that you get to like April, from April until into August it's never dark. This is the period they call eternal day. And so, you've got eternal night and you've got eternal day that are there kind of in that idea for us, we just look at the standard day, you know, the sun comes up, the sun goes down and that's life. But because of where they are and the way the sun tilts on it's axis this is what they experience.
You see for us, I think that um, sometimes we don't have to look around very hard to feel like it's eternal night. Everything that we see oftentimes in our news feeds and you know, we look on our phones or on our computers or we watch television or we read papers or whatever and we see so much hurt and so much suffering and so so much tribulation in the world that we live in, it kind of feels like we're just living sometimes in eternal night.
Now even if we don't look further than just our own congregation, our own community of faith, you have a lot of people that are walking through very difficult times of suffering all the time. I couldn't name them all, but there are certainly some, I mean you may have read about in the Buffalo News they did a story and I think soon, like this up-coming Thursday they're doing a news story on the Vaillancourt family who are here in our congregation. And she's facing a brain tumor, Kim is, husband Phil, she's got a brain tumor, she's pregnant with their third biological child in addition to the three children that they've adopted and she can't have treatment because she needs to get the baby to term so that she can deliver the baby. And their faith is extraordinary, extraordinary. How they're walking through this and demonstrating the gospel in the midst of such a trial as this.
And then we've got people that you know, at all of our campuses by the way that are facing a variety of things. I just had a conversation last week with one of our ushers who's just been married for a handful of months who just found that he has cancer. And he's having to walk through that and deal with that. We've got people who've been abandoned by their spouses. We've got folks that have moved here from other countries and have become followers of Jesus and as a result their family has kind of marginalized them. We've got all kinds of things that you could imagine on the whole continuum of suffering or affliction or trial. It's all represented in our just community of faith.
And sometimes it just, it feels like eternal night, and into that kind of environment where there are lots of people who suffer a variety of things whether it's persecution or whether it's sickness or financial hardship or whatever it might be, into that James, the half-brother of the Lord Jesus who was leading the church of Jerusalem, opens up his letter to those who've been scattered kind of all over the place, that are from Jerusalem but have been scattered because they're facing persecution and remember, famine had come to Jerusalem as well, and so there's all kinds of trials that are going on and listen to how he opens up his letter in James chapter 1, verse 2: "Consider it pure joy, or all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you face trials of many kinds.
Let's just stop there. If we're not careful we could read that and think that's just nuts, right? I mean, you could read that and think to yourself that's just crazy talk. Consider it all joy when you face trials of many kinds? Are you serious? I mean, that's the kind of thing you almost don't, you almost don't have the guts to say that to somebody who's walking through the kind of suffering and affliction and those kinds of things that they are finding themselves in. But the truth is, if we understand it properly, it changes everything.
One of the situations of suffering that is really, really close to my heart and effects me deeply is our own co-pastor for mission advancement here at the Chapel, Daryl Largis and his sweet wife, Carla. And I caught up with him this last week and um, and we had an opportunity to talk about a number of things and uh, I wanted to let you in a little bit on that conversation, so take a look.
Pastor Jerry: Okay, so thank you guys for taking a few moments to uh, share some things with our congregation and I wanted to to give you guys an opportunity to maybe give an update to everyone as to, kind of it's it's been a long journey and maybe just kinda' sharing a little bit about that and where you are right now I think cause folks are concerned and praying and...
Daryl: Absolutely, we've had you know, numerous people over the last three years you know, be a part of this journey and it has been an incredible journey and it's been one full of a lot of twists and turns and some new twists and turns of late and those twists and turns are are definitely more serious in their nature and as a result of that, you know, I'm back in some different kind of treatment and looking at doing some things that are a little more uh, substantial as it relates to you know, what does it do to your body and things of that nature, but even in the midst of that, um we, we get the privilege to walk it together.
Pastor Jerry: So you, you've been on a, it's basically been a three-year journey um, with the whole cancer journey for three years and obviously um, some recent news has been a little more troubling and and as you said have to go into some uh more serious things. In the midst of that, Carla when you and I were talking at the office not terribly long ago, you were talking about all of this and obviously it's tough to walk through, but I remember you saying to me, there's still a whole lot of joy in our home. So how in the world do you face something so serious as what you're facing and still have joy in the midst of this journey.
Carla: We've always had such a a joyful, no regrets kind of relationship everyday, um, that that was a very natural thing to do and when when the the despair, the the darkness was very real uh would start to just creep up like like a tangible being um, literally the name of the Lord is a strong tower and the righteous run to it, I take that running very seriously and and we both do, we we literally run to Him you know, literally I run upstairs or in our minds and because we know we can't do that day of living without His peace, without that strength.
Pastor Jerry: So you really have to develop kind of a discipline of being a spiritual sprinter. That..
Carla: I like that!
Pastor Jerry: Thank you, that's what I do. Um so when you're facing these scenarios you are running in your heart to who God is, trusting God for who He is.
Daryl: You have to.
Pastor Jerry: I mean that, but it's in His presence that you find what? Joy. That's what you find in His presence. Joy. And even in the midst of suffering joy can be experienced. Now what that does is you don't put aside the suffering as if it doesn't exist. Acting like it's not there, pretending that it's something that's not real, that's gonna' get you nowhere. That's not at all what, what the idea here that James is trying to communicate to us.
In fact, James knows full well that the suffering that we experience is real and it's hard and it's difficult. But joy can be found in the midst of it when we find ourselves in God's presence. We talked about last week that true joy is really only found in God's presence and there are some things that James helps us to understand about the character of God, the One in whose presence we come and can experience true joy. There are some things about God's character that we can begin to see that once we begin to grab hold of them it can change the posture of our heart related to how we view our suffering.
And so the first thing is this, that I don't want you miss about God it,s that God is Sovereign. In fact, listen to what James says in verse 2 & 3. He says: "Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know the the testing of your faith produces perseverance." Did you catch that? The testing of your faith. You see, here's one of the things that we need to understand. James is assuming some things as he's writing. That what people are walking through, even if it is bad, awful, terrible, evil, that it is still something that he calls a testing of our faith which he implies there is a test-giver. And the test-giver is none other than God Himself.
You see, when we talk about the idea of God's sovereignty what we are talking about is that God is in control. That nothing that happens to you or I is going to ultimately thwart the ultimate plan of God. God is not stumbling around heaven wondering what is going on. God is completely and totally in control at all times and nothing is going to ultimately thwart His divine will for how everything is going to work together for His glory. Nothing will do that. Even if that thing that we are facing in our suffering, in our trial, in our affliction, even if that thing is something that we didn't cause, that we couldn't control, that's actually gross and bad and evil that's being perpetrated upon us, even then God is still sovereign. God is still the One that actually allows that thing and He's going to give us a test in the midst of it and that test is actually for our benefit. Because it teaches us something about the genuineness and the reality of our own faith.
You see, God is not one who actually brings wickedness, God is not one who actually causes evil, but here's what He will do. He will allow it, and He will use it and He can redeem it. This is the nature of God's sovereignty and the reason that I'm telling you this is because this is kind of a bedrock for how we find joy in God. We have to be able to trust that God is in control and God is sovereign over our circumstance even if that circumstance is bad. Even if that circumstance is evil.
I'll tell you who understood this. Job. Job understood this. Because when you begin the book of Job which is probably the oldest book that we have in all of Scripture, and it is dealing with this whole kind of good and evil and what are God's purposes and all that kind of stuff and you've got Job - everything is coming up roses in his life. He's a blessed man, he walks with God, he loves God, he follows after God. Everything's wonderful. But the accuser of all of our souls, the adversary known as the satan in the book of Job, the adversary comes into the presence of God and God says what about my servant Job. Righteous, walks with me, man full of integrity. And he's like, yeah, cause everything's good for him. God says well, you do whatever you do and you'll see he's still gonna' be faithful. And then his world turns upside down. He loses about everything that he had and then ultimately he's facing disease and all kinds of other things that he's facing and the enemy actually enters in and causes some of this to happen but God says you can't take his life. I'll allow you to do some things, but you can't take his life. We're seeing in the book of Job a sovereign God who knows even when these kinds of things are perpetrated that He can use them for His glory ultimately.
Listen to how Job understood this in Job chapter 2: The Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There's no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason." "Skin for skin:" Satan replied. "A man will give all he has for his own life, but now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face." The Lord said to Satan, "Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life." So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. And then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. And his wife said to him, "Are you still maintaining your integrity: Curse God and die!" And Job replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. That is a rich, deep, abiding trust in the sovereignty of God. Job says "If God gives me good, or if God allows bad, I'm going to trust Him. He says later, "Even if He slay me I will still praise Him." This is deep-rooted trust in the sovereign God.
And you see some of us, we have a trouble kind of in our mind saying well, if God allows some of these types of things, that just that bothers me. See God has all the information at exactly the same time. He he knows all the missing dots that we haven't connected. He knows all the puzzle pieces that are out of joint. He knows everything about everything at all times and He is completely and totally in control and can be trusted as our sovereign God. Even when we don't see the why, He can be trusted because He knows what He's doing and He can even in the allowance of that which is evil or violent or brutal or that which causes affliction or suffering, even in the allowance of that, God can and does use it and can and does redeem it in our lives. Do you know that that's actually at the heart of the Gospel? That our sovereign God has rescued us even though it was violent and brutal and horrible and you'd never wish that kind of death on anyone? This is exactly what He did in His own sovereignty.
In fact, when Peter and John were released from prison they prayed a prayer. Listen to the words of it in Acts chapter 4 "On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them and when they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. Here's how they started it: "Sovereign Lord," the one who is in control completely and totally at all times and has all the information about everything. "You made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of you servant, our father David." And then he quotes David: "Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one." Indeed, listen to this: "Herod" Jewish king, "Pontius Pilate" Roman governor, "met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel" Jews and non-Jews, "to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed." So it would seem that it's all their fault, it's everybody else's fault that this happened to Jesus. Here's what they prayed: "They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen."
Do you realize that even the gospel that we preach is predicated upon the sovereignty of God, the One who is completely and totally in control at all times and knows exactly what is happening and through that incredible act of violence, of brutality that was horrific in seeing Jesus stripped and crucified, it is through that act of violence, what we would consider evil done by human beings to the Son of God, that God used and redeemed so that you and I would be able to be reconciled to the Father because of what Jesus has done in paying for our sins on the cross and rising from the dead. God is sovereign! And this is something we need to have at the bedrock, at the bedrock of what we understand when we come into His presence particularly when we are facing suffering because He is the One who will walk us through.
Do you know what that does to us? It actually changes the our perspective when we when we understand it. People through history, people in the Scripture who really understood this and even people right now, people like Pastor Daryl and Carla. When they understand that and when these people have understood it do you know what happens? They they stop asking so much about why and they simply focus on who. That's what sovereignty does when we understand the sovereignty of the One who is in control of everything.
But there's a second piece that I don't want you to miss. James also helps us to understand that God is purposeful. So even though God is completely in control and may allow for certain things to happen in our lives, God also has a purpose behind what is happening. It's not just some fickle deity who's going well, let's see what they do, it is a God who has purpose in what is happening.
Listen to how James phrases it: "Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith PRODUCES PERSEVERANCE." You see, there is actually, listen to this, there is a product in our suffering. It produces something. What does it produce? Perseverance, endurance, a willingness to go through it to the end. Why is this so important for us? It's important because suffering doesn't end with perseverance, it's actually trying to find its way somewhere else.
Listen to how Paul says it in Romans chapter 5, he says: "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we've been, we've gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, or disappoint us, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." You, you see the progression here, right, is that when we face suffering it produces in those of us who genuinely know God, who genuinely trust in the Sovereign One who has purpose behind this suffering, that ultimately it brings perseverance in our lives. That we continue to press on, we continue to endure. There are many who punch out, so what about them? Their faith was probably faulty at the first. If your faith can't get you to the finish it's probably faulty from the first.
You see, this is what God does, He gives us perseverance and that perseverance as we continue to endure develops the character of Jesus in our lives. We begin sharing in His sufferings as the Scripture says and the character of Jesus in our lives brings hope. You see, this is where suffering is leading us to, it's leading us to hope. The reminder that it is not forever going to be an eternal night, but that it's going to be an eternal day. This is where it leads us. It doesn't marginalize the suffering, the suffering is real, but it enable us to be able to see it in a different perspective because we know God has purpose in it.
One of the ancients said it this way: "The choicest wine of the king will always be found in the cellar". You see, you and I sometimes have to walk into the deep recesses of suffering to begin to understand the greatness of the glory of God. When we begin to share in the sufferings of our Savior, it begins to teach us about the nature of the glory of God. This is what happens. We are like our Savior. We are like our Savior, as the master, so the student, right? As the teacher so the student. Do you know what Hebrews chapter 5 says about the Lord Jesus? It says: "Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him." If that was the case in the life of Jesus, how will that not be the case in our lives? That we will share in His suffering and we will grow in obedience and through that process we will persevere and we will become people shaped in the character of Christ and as a result we'll be people who understand the great hope that we have.
You know, this hope is ultimately where apostles like Paul and Peter talk about that even in the midst of our suffering, that we have a deep hope that is borne up in us. Listen in fact to how Paul said it in Romans chapter 8, he said: "Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."
You know, actually later on in that, I was just reminded cause that chapter's kind of floating through my head just now, this isn't, I didn't tell anybody but do you know it later says in there, it says "I consider that our present sufferings are not even worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us." This is what we're reminded of, this is the kind of hope that's developed out of suffering.
Paul says it this way again in 2 Corinthians chapter 4 he said "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all."
Listen to what Peter says in 1 Peter 1: "In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him, and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls." This comes borne out of suffering.
You know this, this not only, this not only has benefit for our own soul when we walk through this, that our suffering produces perseverance and our perseverance produces character and that character produces a hope that we just read about. But it's also, by the way, our sovereign God purposes to use our suffering for other people. To bring Him glory
Do you know when I watch the testimony and the life of Pastor Daryl and Carla, I love Jesus more because of them.. I love Jesus more because of them and there are thousands of people that will learn to love Jesus more and trust Jesus more because of their testimony because of the genuineness of their faith being proved of greater worth than gold in the midst of the fire. This is what happens.
You know what the Scripture says, Paul says it this way in 2 Corinthians chapter 1: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed it's for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort."
Do you know how many times I've seen that happen in the life of our church where somebody has walked through incredible just tragedy or horrific affliction and maybe God has allowed them to get to the other side of it and then somebody else in our church starts walking through the same thing. Do you know what we do? Let me introduce you to them. Do you know why? Because they can now bring the grace of Jesus into the midst of this to say "here's what God did for me in the midst of this." It's an incredible reminder that our sovereign God has purpose in our suffering not only that benefits our own soul, but benefits other people.
But there's a third thing that I don't want you to miss and it's this: That God is good. We know Him to be sovereign and we know that He has purpose in what He does, but He's good. In fact, listen to how James says it in verse number 12: "Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him." Do you know what this passage here reminds me of? That we're going to persevere under trial not because we have such incredible will power, not because we're just pick it up by our bootstraps strong. Because God is so good that He's going to empower us Himself to persevere. That's how good He is to us. That He Himself is empowering.
You remember how Paul said in the book of Philippians chapter number 1, he said: "..being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus". In other words, you're not left alone in this journey when you're facing suffering. You're not just gonna' be like oh, man I gotta', ohhh, I gotta' persevere. His power in you is going to get you there. That's how good He is to us. In fact, in Romans chapter number 8 it says this: "But Christ, if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who live in you."
You see, here's the thing. He is saying to us that those who persevere under trial having stood the test are going to receive from the Lord what He promised and that is the Crown of Life. What do we understand that to be. Whatever else it is, here's what we know. What God has done in Jesus is that He has come in the person of Jesus who lived sinlessly and He has taken upon Himself, the Lord Jesus, our sin. He paid for it, He satisfied the justice of God and in so doing, He died a real death. But the Scripture tells us that the Spirit of God raised Jesus from the dead and that the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is alive in us. That gives us the perseverance to walk through trouble and even when we die we will not stay dead. Because just as Jesus was crowned with life in His resurrection from the dead, so too when we die our soul is in the care of the Lord Jesus and when He returns we will get up from our graves in an immortal body and we will be crowned with life. This is the hope of the gospel. You see, this changes our perspective about the nature of suffering because we realize how good God is. It's startling for us when we begin to see it from that perspective. Here it is. We are headed to eternal day, eternal day is on the way. We right now are in some period of what we feel like might be eternal night, but eternal day is on the way.
I want to circle back to my conversation with Pastor Daryl and let him even address that a little more fully. Take a look.
Pastor Jerry: Okay, so you guys, what is it about God that that gives you the hope and the confidence and the joy that you experience when you're in His presence. What is it about His character that does that for you?
Pastor Daryl: You know, in the time in which we've walked through this, you go through a whole host of emotions and thought and you know, things you've read, things you've studied in the past and ah, but when, when it gets down to it there's some point they need to become real. It needs to become something that actually is real. Not just not just words on a paper, not, not just things and thoughts and not just, you know a text or this or that but things that become real and and there are a couple of things that, for me personally, this journey, God has just clearly demonstrated, "This is who I am, this, this is my nature. This, this is what it is" and so I wanted to read just a moment out of Psalm 62 and, and these words, uh,I just, they speak so deep and, and, and mean so much, um, and that's really where in my mind, you'll find joy. Joy is not something external. Joy is something that is internally derived by being close to God and so, beginning in verse 5, Psalm 62, uh, God's Word said "Yes, my soul finds rest in God, my hope comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation. He is my fortress. I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend upon God. He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in Him at all times, you people, pour out your hearts to him for God is our refuge." And when you look at that, it just oozes of God's goodness and His love and His greatness, and just who He is and how we can trust in Him and I've, I've leaned on that, hard, and, and, and, and it's been some long nights and some long days but I can, on this side of it, it's it's all true. God is good, He is true and He is our refuge and our fortress.
Carla: I don't have to know the reason why all of this. I just trust, I know that there is a reason why and it's His and because I fully trust Him to be good, truly good, um, that that reason's okay and because He's so good even when things are are hard or I don't understand them, I know I can run to Him. I know I can say anything and He can handle it, and, and He that He said to make it real that um, it's a, a privilege to be able to practice it, to...
Pastor Daryl: It is, to live it.
Carla: To, to really know that goodness in Him, um, I'm thankful for that.
Pastor Daryl: Yeah.
Pastor Jerry: So let me ask, for some of us maybe in this moment, this was a message that was hammer on the head of the nail because of what you're walking through. Every one of us either has suffering in our rear-view mirror or we've got in on our front windshield looking forward. But some are right in it right now, right now. And if that's you, right now, I want you to put your hand in the air, if that's you right now. Right now. Leave your hand up for a moment. Look around, leave your hand up for a moment. Look around you. Make sure you see the people that are around you. Here's what I'm gonna' ask you to do, the body of Christ for just a moment. I want us to minister to them. If you're near somebody with a hand raised, I want you to find them, put a hand on their shoulder. Look around you, make sure you don't leave anybody out. Leave your hand up for a moment. Put a hand on their shoulder, and I want you to do this. I want you to pray, I want you to pray that they would experience God's sovereignty, God's purpose and God's goodness in the trial that they're walking through. If somebody's there to pray with you, you can put your hands down now. Take a moment to pray, right now church. Pray out loud if you want to pray out loud, that's fine. Take a moment to minister.
Father, as your people are ministering to one another, I pray in the strong name of Jesus that whatever the particular trial, I know your word, your word says that there are various trials. But whatever the particular trial that is bringing suffering or affliction, that every single one of them would be reminded that you are in control, nothing is escaping you, and that you have a purpose behind whatever is happening, that you can use, that you can redeem, not only for their own soul but ultimately for the world that is watching. Maybe even how you're going to take this and how you're going to use it that they would be a vehicle of grace for other people walking through suffering. And I pray, God that you would overwhelm them with the sense of your goodness. Your ways are perfect. You are so good you enable us and strengthen us to endure and to persevere even in the midst of the suffering. You are so good that You have promised us that we, like the Lord Jesus will be crowned with Life. I pray, God by the power of your Spirit you would bring such overwhelming encouragement into the lives of every person facing this trial that they would be staggered at your grace. Overwhelmed by the flood of mercy and that they would sense and know your presence, that You suffer with us and you have demonstrated that at the cross. That you've entered into our suffering and you suffer with us. So breathe life by your Spirit into the life of each of these people. I ask you humbly in Jesus' powerful name. Amen.
Just stay where you are for a second. Two things, very quickly before you leave. One: For some of you this was dead-center of the bulls-eye for where you're living right now. For others of you, it's going to be. This is the message that if there's such a thing as filing messages on speed-dial, this is one. That you put in a safe spot because outside of our windshields are things in the future that we don't know. Jesus said in this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world. We will not, none of us will be immune to hardship, trial, suffering, persecution. So if it wasn't you today, keep this close, and let the Word of God speak to you when it is your day.
But for those of you who have maybe never entered into a relationship with God through His Son, no one's ever shown you that kind of love, the love that would lay down their life for you. The sinless for the sinful, so that you can be reconciled to God. Turn away from trying to be your own savior and put your faith and trust in Jesus alone. He's the only One who can save. There is no other name under heaven by which people can be saved except the name of Jesus. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father except through Him. He's not an option in a menu of choices. He is the singular Way, the singular Truth and the singular Life. He is the Son of the Living God, He is God with skin on, He is demonstrating the express glory of God in flesh so that we might be able to see and know the testimony that the Word, that which was from the beginning, has become flesh and dwelt among us, that we may behold His glory, the only begotten Son of the Living God so that you might be rescued, saved from yourself and from your sin and be reborn into a new life that gives you hope even in the midst of difficulty, so that one day you might be able to experience eternal day. If that's your need, I hope when you walk out of this building that the first place you stop is the Fireside Room. There's some pastors and friends over there who'd love to take just a few minutes to talk to you about what it means to receive Jesus and to know that you're in relationship with the Father.
So Father, I pray that you would do your good pleasure by the power of your own Spirit in the hearts of your people and of those you are drawing to yourself. We thank you for the truth of your Word, and we thank you for living illustrations and there are many of them in our community of faith who are demonstrating what it means to experience joy in the midst of suffering. May we be that kind of people because the world is paying attention to the way that we live, to the way that we suffer, and to the way that we die. And may we in our living, in our suffering and in our dying, may we show them the glory of God. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.
Love you guys, have a great week.