Good morning everyone:
Did you have a good week? Was work rewarding, school fulfilling, and family pure joy? Did you feel great, accomplish everything you wanted to, and cruise through every intersection on a green light? Probably not. None of us experiences a perfect day, let alone a week without problems. And maybe in your case, the problems were not just minor annoyances, but major disruptions to your life and peace of mind.
The question people have often asked and wondered about throughout the ages is, “Why the suffering?” Is suffering nothing more than a random circumstance of life in the world? Are those who experience fewer troubles just luckier than others? Or is there more to it? Conscience warns that we are not good people. We have said and done things we should not have done. Reason concludes that suffering must be punishment for our wrongs. But then why do seemingly very “good” people at times suffer, while the evil prosper?
Jesus explains what we could never figure out on our own. In reference to a tragic accident in Jerusalem, He said, “Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Lk. 13:4-5).
The troubles of life are not punishments for our sins. If they were, we would experience far worse here on earth, only to suffer eternal death in hell afterwards. During this Lenten season we have been drawn over and over again to the cross where Jesus endured the punishment for the sin of all people. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).
Then why the suffering? As Jesus says, it is a reminder of sin and its seriousness. It is a call to recognize and confess that we, too, are guilty, and to come to the Lord for forgiveness. He graciously gives us the peace of forgiveness. Then we know all is well between us and Him. Then we know that He will give us the strength we need and make the difficulties of the day serve for our eternal good. Then we have reason to do what Paul says: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:16-18). Then every week will be a good week!
Tomorrow’s sermon text (Hosea 5:13-6:3) is an example of the Lord’s loving call in the midst of trials to turn to Him for deliverance.
The Sunday School will sing at the beginning of second service.
The adult Bible class will continue the study of the book of Isaiah. We’ll be picking up at Chapter 11. If you get a chance, read ahead. Note especially the picture of amazing peace in verses 6-9. What is the Lord speaking of?
Yours in Christ,