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Hope in Spiritual Warfare (14 of 14)
I Peter 5:8-11
As you look back over your life, at what places did you grow the most? Whenever I ask this question, almost without exception the person will mention a time of pain, a time of loss, a time of deep and unexplained suffering in his or her life. When suffering rains down upon us, our tendency is to think that God has withdrawn and abandoned us in the middle of the storm. Our confusion during these times stems from our lack of understanding of the role that pain should play in our life. Phillip Yancey is correct in his analysis:
"Christians don't really know how to interpret pain. If you pin them against the wall in a dark, secret moment, many Christians would probably admit that pain was God's one mistake. He really should have worked a little harder and invented a better way of coping with the world's dangers."
My friend, pain rages on. With relentless regularity, we encounter hardship and heartache. We give ourselves to a friendship only to lose a person in death. We grieve the lost and determine not to give ourselves so completely again, and so loneliness now comes to haunt us.
You'll notice the Apostle Peter never once laments the fact that the people he is writing to were suffering from pain and persecution, nor does he offer advice on how to escape it.
Instead he faces suffering squarely – telling them not to be surprised by it – and promises that God provides benefits when we endure life's hurts. Let's get something straight:
Our real enemy is not our suffering itself. The real culprit is our adversary, the devil – the one responsible for much of the world's pain and danger.
Although God is at work in the trials of life, so is Satan. While God uses our trials to draw us closer to Him, Satan tries to use them as levers to pry us away from God, and the tug of war only intensifies the battle.
It should not surprise us, then, that Peter b ...
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