How Can I Have Joy or Believe God Delights in Me with so much Suffering Going on Around Me?
Recap week one:
God delights in me: He celebrates when I turn to him, and seek Him.
Lord, this week is a difficult subject. You seem to be a God of pain and suffering not of love or joy. Show me where my thinking may be wrong and the places where I need to adjust what I have believed up to now.
1 Peter 1:3-9 NIV
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
There is so much joy in this passage, but maybe an expression of joy that you never thought was possible. Peter begins this passage by establishing the eternal, never ending quality of the inheritance God has given his children, if you have believed in Christ and His work in your place on the cross. Peter believes it is possible to have joy in Christ even when circumstances around you are not good, even when there is suffering. He also continues that there is a purpose for the suffering: that faith, grown and made deeper by trials and suffering, can result in great expression of joy when Christ is finally revealed. At the end of this passage Peter links a filling of joy with the expression of our faith in Christ.
Read this passage in Peter every day, asking God for a deeper understanding of the passage each time you read it. Don’t rush, ponder the words. As you walk through the day and are confronted with daily, normal everyday struggles and possibly bigger struggles, share these with God asking for His perspective and thank him that your faith is being refined as you go through difficult moments in life. (If you would like an extra action task take verse 3 of the above passage and memorize it)
The focus of joy here is the goal of salvation and to give glory and praise to God. The focus of joy is not the actual struggle of suffering, but what this suffering works in you to grow you to be able to give your praise to God. Your suffering at the moment may even be the difficulty of withdrawal, insistent temptation to use, deep desire to comfort yourself or have a “high”, the loss of friends, companions, family etc. The focus here needs to be on the prize, being able to have the freedom to praise God in obedience, having trusted Him to bring you through. At first you might only see small victories but as you persist in your faith, God is faithful and He will see you through.
End of Day:
Thank God for the moments of victory over temptation. Thank Him for growing you through trials. Read the daily passage again, going to sleep with Scripture on your mind.
Take time to write down a daily struggle or temptation and write down a prayer of thanks for what God is working in you through the struggle.