November 27, 2022
Rejoice in Pain.
Bible Text 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you
1 Peter 4: 12-19 (NIV)
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
Story of a 32-year-old unemployed single mother of two in a church at Port-au-Prince, Haiti, nearly a year after the devastating earthquake. The church’s building consisted of a tent made from white tarps and duct tape, pitched in the midst of a sprawling camp for thousands of people still homeless from the earthquake. She is among six amputees ranging in age from 6 to 60 that sat in the front row clapping and smiling as they sang song after song and lifted their prayers to God. The worship was full of hope…[and] with thanksgiving to the Lord. She had lost her job, her home, and two limbs, but she was deeply grateful because God spared her life in the January 12th 2010 incident. She believes she survived the devastating quake for two reasons: to raise her girls and to serve her Lord for a few more years
Six Reasons for Rejoicing in Pain.
Not a Surprise but a Plan – Keep on rejoicing because the suffering is not a surprise but a plan. (verse 12: “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you.”)
Evidence of Union with Christ – Keep on rejoicing because your suffering as a Christian is an evidence of your union with Christ. (verse 13a: “But to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing.”) In other words your sufferings are not merely your own. They are also Christ’s. This is cause for rejoicing because it means you are united to Christ.
A Means to Attaining Greater Joy in Glory – Keep on rejoicing because this joy will strengthen your assurance that when Christ comes in glory, you will rejoice forever with him. (verse 13b: “[As you share the sufferings of Christ] keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of his glory, you may rejoice with exultation.”) Notice: keep on rejoicing now, so that you may rejoice then. Our joy now through suffering is the means of attaining our joy then, a thousand-fold in glory. 1 Peter 1: 11, 5:11
The Spirit of Glory and of God Resting on You – Keep on rejoicing in suffering because then the Spirit of glory and of God rest upon you. (verse 14: “If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” Seek to be holy; seek to bring truth; seek to bear witness; and do not turn aside from risk. And sooner or later you will experience the Spirit of glory and of God resting upon you in suffering.
It glorifies God – Keep on rejoicing in suffering because this glorifies God. (verse 16: “If anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed, but in that name let him glorify God.”). Glorifying God means showing by your actions and attitudes that God is glorious to you — that he is valuable, precious, desirable, satisfying. And the greatest way to show that someone satisfies your heart is to keep on rejoicing in them when all other supports for your satisfaction are falling away. When you keep rejoicing in God in the midst of suffering, it shows that God, and not other things, is the great source of your joy.
God’s Faithfulness to Care for Your Soul – keep on rejoicing because your Creator is faithful to care for your soul. (verse 19: “Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.”)
I also remember the story of a man in his 80s whose wife health is declining fast and barely knows him. He has parkinsons. And he was rejoicing. You know what he said?
“I didn’t know I could be this close to the Lord. I didn’t know I could experience this kind of joy. I wouldn’t trade what’s happened for anything, not anything, it’s too good.”
I WANT to rejoice in You! I want to experience You! I want to glorify You here in my meager but real pain. Oh Jesus I want to experience You. I want the Holy Spirit. Not just for His benefits, but simply to know Him. To know the Father’s heart that the Holy Spirit searches. To know God.
And as the rain and fall comes and God’s plan is rolled out I am blessed by being aware of the Holy Spirit. Have you ever quenched the Spirit? Or simply been in a dry spell? Press in. With all you have, press in. No matter what you feel, God is truth. And He is with and for His kids. Dig in to the pain, look for the treasure of God’s promised comfort. Scripture says God is our great comforter. And He proves Himself true.
So when that person you cared about is out of your reach or your loved ones experience physical pain. When your child is dying. When you face down death and your world shakes, when you can’t be near to those you love, when your children break your heart beyond imagining and life bashes you all in the twinkle of an eye. I’m not saying “ignore real things, plaster on a smile because God is good”. I’m saying because God is good, throw yourself on Him. Everywhere you can. Oh my soul, sing and dance for Him. Spirit fill us. Come, Lord, come. Bring Your light and let us direct Your love to everyone we possibly can. Holy. Holy. Holy is the Lord God almighty, Jesus all is only for You.
- I will never be ungrateful to you Lord!!!