In our devotion today, I want to bring a study to your heart that will lead us into the message the Lord gave to the church in Smyrna. This study deals with suffering and the Smyrna church is the church of “suffering” and we know this from what the Lord said to them in Revelation 2:10a…”Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer:…” The word “suffer” means “to feel or bear what is painful, disagreeable or distressing, either to the body or the mind.” One of the most painful questions that has been asked is “Why do people who love and serve God suffer?” Many have tried to answer that question and those similar to it from their own perspectives, and I’m not going to venture down that pathway, but I do want to look at it from the scriptural perspective and ask God for guidance.
Suffering is experienced physically, emotionally and spiritually. I believe that most everyone can relate to this reality and one aspect of suffering can lead into the other areas being affected as well. We have many examples in God’s Word that will substantiate this (Job, Paul, Peter, John, etc.) Suffering for the Christian falls into three basic categories. First, there is suffering we experience for the good of others, and we probably will not know the purpose while we are suffering. This is Intercessory Suffering. Second, there is suffering that will teach us lessons that God knows, only this suffering can teach, and is designed by God to make us a stronger Christian. This is Educative Suffering. Third, there is suffering that we bring on ourselves due to willful disobedience and worldliness. This is Disciplinary Suffering. In our next few devotions, I want to examine these and I pray they will be a blessing to God’s people.
Pastor Joey Durham