In Part 1, I gave you some encouragement about ending the year well and how you can look forward to the next year with anticipation for great things. To pause and reflect is very valuable to enable us to move forward.
In Part 2 I suggest a few more ways to put a more positive spin on the bad things that may be happening in your life.
1. Be thankful for the trouble and persecution in your life.
A preacher gave a challenging message recently based on these verses from 1 Peter chapter 4 verses 12 to 14, which said:
“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.”
The main point he made is that suffering is not something that should catch a Christian by surprise. God tells us it will happen (2 Timothy Chapter 3 verse 12). And it’s good when bad things happen to faithful Christians.
The preacher, Deon Thomas of The King’s Sanctuary church in Jamaica gave these 5 reasons:
a. Suffering shows that the Spirit of God is on you. The devil and the persons he uses will fight against the children of God. We are fighting against spiritual forces (Ephesians Chapter 6). Cain killed Abel because Abel did what was right (1 John Chapter 3 verse 12).
b. Suffering proves you are a genuine Christian (Psalm chapter 17 verse 3) if you continue to walk uprightly and remain obedient to God during the trial.
c. Suffering forms perseverance in you which in turn produces character and hope (Romans chapter 5 verses 3-4). Pastor Deon described perseverance as the ability to not swerve from purpose and loyalty to faith. It is the trait of being immoveable and resolute. God wants His people to be able to handle life with all its challenges, with the maturity and strength demonstrated by His Son, Jesus Christ. A Christian should be able to handle life, regardless of the magnitude of difficulty encountered. That’s the training Jesus went through and that was modelled for us.
d. Suffering shows the greatness of your heavenly reward (Matthew chapter 5 verses 11-12). We have to remember this earth is a temporary home for us (1 Corinthians Chapter 15 verse 58)
e. Suffering shows God’s power in our lives, when we are weak in our human strength (2 Corinthians Chapter 12 verse 10). There is beauty when you can see the fingerprints of God on your life in times of your greatest testing and hardship. This is how the Apostle Paul lived his life.
2. Love and love some more.
God is clear that we must love others and ourselves (Ephesians Chapter 5 verse 2). Love is our DNA since we are children of a God who by definition is love.
3. In times of crisis, lean into God. When you feel alone, you are not. God is there.
Depend onHim more. Talk to him in prayer. Remember that your trust is in The Lord and through him you have peace in the midst of suffering.
Sharma Taylor is a corporate attorney with a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Law from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. She won the 2017 Basil Sellers International Young Writers prize in the Press Service International young writer program, the 2019 Tronson Award (International) and the 2021 Basil Sellers award for International Senior Writers. Every day, she loves experiencing the beautiful surprises that God has stored up for her and longs to keep cultivating a servant-heart.