Trials and failures are things in life that can break us but that God can use to strengthen us and bring joy and beauty in our lives. In these next three devotions, we will look at the difficult issue of suffering. By looking at suffering in the lives of characters in Scripture we can see both the reasons for the suffering and their response to the suffering. In this devotion, we will look at suffering in the lives of Peter and David.
Luke records the conversation that Jesus has with Peter when he tells him that Satan has asked to sift him like wheat. In other words, Satan, the reason for Peter’s suffering, has demanded permission to hammer him like a rock. But notice what happens next. Jesus says that He has prayed for Peter that his faith would not fail and that when he returns to Jesus he will strengthen the brothers. Peter emerges from this encounter severely chipped but not shattered. In fact, what we see is that Satan’s request was granted, but so was Christ’s. Peter not only survives but his faith is strengthened, and he goes on to do the good work of strengthening the brothers. He writes in his first letter of the purpose of his suffering – the doing of good works which will glorify God. If you are suffering perhaps it is to strengthen you for good works with which you can glorify God.
David writes about his suffering that comes from sin in the world. In his Psalm, he shares the pain he feels at finding himself the object of lies, deceit, wickedness, and hatred. He also shares the pain of seeing this same sin of hatred and persecution poured out on mankind. Perhaps you have been one who has suffered false accusations, evil words, hatred, lies or deceit. If you can identify with David in his pain, then can you identify with him in where he turns for help? He turns to the Lord, trusting the Lord to be his refuge; to be his place of blessing, and to be with him through his suffering.
How do we respond when we suffer at the hands of Satan or by cruel and deceitful words? We respond by trusting in the Lord and going about his work of good deeds.