Fresh Hope – 7th March 2016

I’d love to be free from pain…

I’m not physically ill.

I don’t have a broken bone or have arthritis.

I’m not taking medication for anything.

The pain I feel is therefore nothing to do with my physical body, but is something that is part and parcel of living a life for God.

The pain I’m describing is not exclusively mine, as it belongs to us all.

None of us ever sign up to follow Jesus because we are attracted to pain, but often because we want to live a life free from pain. However, the pain I speak of is the unavoidable and inevitable pain of the daily trials that we all face.

I came to the conclusion many years ago that ‘there will always be a problem’.

It’s not a faithless statement, but it is a realistic statement that helps us gain a proper perspective on what it’s like to live a daily life for God.

1 Peter 4:12-13 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful and fiery trial that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in as much as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

How many of us are so surprised when we find a painful trial sprung upon us?

Yet the Bible is advising us that we shouldn’t be – in fact, it’s actually teaching us that trials are our friends and not our enemies.

By virtue of the fact that this verse says that we shouldn’t think that ‘something strange is happening to us’ when we go through trials, indicates that we should embrace difficulties as character makers, rather than character breakers.

My friends today, if you are in the middle of pain because of a trial that you are facing, then don’t dismay, but understand that every Christian is in just the same boat.

Our trials will be different and will come at different times and seasons in our lives, but be assured of this: they are not a sign that God has left you, but is right there holding your hand to bring you out the other side, a better and stronger person for it.

James 1:12 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.

Don’t miss night one of  Month of Mondays, at 7.30 tonight.

Pastor Mark

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