We may suffer even when obedient
“If any of you want to come with me,” he told them, “you must forget yourself, carry your cross, and follow me.” Mark 8:34 (TEV)
When we suffer, we can cling to the truth that God is not surprised. We do not suffer outside the sovereignty and power of God.
We can rest in his promise that he has our best interest at heart and so, when suffering and rejection come, we can obediently trust that our suffering is not an accident but a necessity used by God to lovingly squeeze the things out of us that we might otherwise ignore or excuse — the sin, disobedience, and apathy that we like to think isn’t so bad.
And this is why Jesus so often addresses the weary and brokenhearted (see Matthew 11:28-30). In a sense, ‘Come to me if you are desperate because only desperate men and women are willing to suffer for my cause.’
They alone understand God will give them “treasures of darkness and riches from secret places, so that you may know that I, the Lord, the God of Israel call you by your name.” (Isaiah 45:3 HCSB)
Consider this: The cross did not just happen to Jesus; it was part of his purpose for coming to earth. Suffering does not just happen upon you; God uses it to help you fulfill the purpose for your life.
You may face suffering even as you walk obediently into this decade of destiny. Don’t let it distract you; instead, let it drive you deeper into the heart of God. Even if you can’t see the work of God’s hand, place your faith in the loving and good nature of God.
Jon Walker is the author of Breakfast with Bonhoeffer, Costly Grace, and Growing with Purpose. He is managing editor of Rick Warren’s Daily Hope devotionals. This devotional is copyrighted 2013 by Jon Walker. Used by permission.