From Suffering to Glory
Read Ephesians 3:12-13
...in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in Him. So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.
During seasons of suffering in your life, what gives you the confidence to persevere?
I often wish I could avoid suffering. I mean, who really wants to suffer? Yet, suffering is a part of life. And often, God uses the suffering in our lives to accomplish His good purposes.
Paul’s experience is a testimony to that truth. Consider the good that God brought about through Paul’s trials in his ministry. For example, Paul wrote this letter to the Ephesians as he was chained to a Roman guard. He was in prison! And yet, he asked the Ephesians to not “lose heart over what I am suffering for you”. Paul knew that even from his captivity, God was using him to accomplish kingdom work.
Jesus suffered greatly on our behalf before He was glorified and Paul knew that before we get to experience glory ourselves, there will be a time of suffering. But during that suffering, God can use us to bring more people to himself so that they too may experience glory someday.
Paul viewed his time in prison as an opportunity to continue his ministry. He continued to evangelize with his letters. In fact, Paul’s letters still spread the good news of the Gospel to us today! Paul probably had no idea how much God would accomplish through the letters Paul wrote during his imprisonment. Letters that he penned in approximately 60 AD are still being read today. They have strengthened, encouraged, and corrected the saints for almost 2,000 years. According to Wycliffe Bible Translators, Paul’s letters have also been translated into at least 1,551 different languages! Paul’s suffering was not in vain. It was for the saving of many, many souls.
Friends, we will suffer in this life. But in the midst of the suffering we can allow God to use us in spite of those trials. Remember, that for those of us in Christ, we will pass from suffering on to glory. God may be using your trying circumstances to set you up to share the Gospel with those around you. So don’t quit. Don’t lose heart!
Father, it is hard and scary to be in seasons of suffering. In the midst of pain, remind me that You are with me and that You can still use me to accomplish big things for Your kingdom. Use me for Your good purposes, Lord. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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