There is one great sign that you are loved more than you thought. It is the cross. And there is a still further sign that you will live in tis love forever. It is the empty tomb.*
The cross is so precious to Christians – to those who know what it means for them. But it seemed at the time to be a catastrophic end to a promising life. Shattered dreams, hope lost. And yet, the cross is where our King triumphs. He pays our debt in full. He breaks the power of death: our great enemy, our big problem. Our God’s greatest victory was won through agony and apparent weakness. And so it’s not surprising that as Christians, we suffer.
There are those who will tell you that suffering only comes from lack of faith, or disobedience, or even God’s mistakes. But it’s a lie. In this broken world, we should expect to suffer. That’s why I want to recommend this book to you, Hope When it Hurts. It’s a series of short chapters meditating on 2 Corinthians Chapters 4 and 5. You could read one a day, or read big chunks at a time. Either way, I think it’s a really precious resource.
This book explores the value of weakness: not only is weakness inevitable but it is also used by God to show his power and to bless us.
This book explores the blessing there is in suffering, as it draws us nearer to the all-sufficient God.
This book is honest about life – written by two women who are learning these lessons as they go along – and points us to the good, sovereign, gracious God who has a plan and will not abandon us.
If you’re not suffering right now, it’s likely that you will do in the future and/or that someone close to you is. It’s also really important that we don’t trust in our earthly comforts but that we trust in God, through the “easy” times as well as the “hard” times. Yes, we’re heading for a perfect world, but since we’re not there yet I think you will find this book to be worth its weight in gold.
If we think that suffering and blessing can’t co-exist, we will always be seeing shallow pleasures and comforts, and we will miss out on the deep blessings of walking closely with Christ in suffering. The world to come means that we can be pained and privileged at the same time. (Hope when it Hurts, p.82.)
*From Jared Wilson, The Wonder-Working God, quoted in Hope When it Hurts.