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Joy Amid Pain

March 22, 2024


I am trying not to look at the years on this, but I can't help but notice how long I have been working on this. I am stubborn enough, though, that I am still working on it. And this time, I have managed to post two Fridays in a row! As usual, my current response is at the bottom.


October 30, 2022

1 Peter 3:13-14


Take Time to Pray

 

Psalm 107:1-3

1 Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;

          His love endures forever.

2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say this –

          those He redeemed from the hand of the foe,

3 those He gathered from the lands,

          from east and west, from north and south.

 

Examine

          13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.”

* Quote is from Isaiah 8:12

 

Notice

 

God

·       God prepares us for when things are hard.

·       God blesses

·       God protects.

Lesson

·       Sometimes our good acts are met with bad responses from a sinful world.

·       We don’t need to be afraid of this world, because our true prize is Heaven.


 

Prayer

Psalm 1118:25-27

25 O LORD, save me;

O LORD, grant us success.

26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.

From the house of the LORD we bless You.

27 The LORD is God,

and He has made His light shine upon us.

With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession

up to the horns of the altar.


1 Peter 3:13-14

13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." (NIV '84)


March 19, 2024

These verses carry a bit of a sting for me as they bring up some painful memories - painful memories that also bring joy.

I have often been seen as a rule-follower or a "goody-goody". This has led to bullying and teasing - even as an adult. In my 20s I was forced to leave two different jobs due to harassment. The harassment was painful and it never made any sense to me. I didn't preach at anyone. I didn't condemn people. I just quietly did what I was supposed to do. Somehow, this was offensive (or something like that) to people and they decided to make me a target for their barbs and such. It wasn't a gentle teasing among friendly co-workers. No, it seemed these people were out to hurt me. Why? Did my behavior make them feel guilty for their behavior? Or were they just bullies going after the one who was different and may have seemed weak to them. Having this happen on the playground in grade school was one thing, but to have it happen in what was supposed to be "professional" environment was truly baffling to me.

I did then, and still do today, find a comfort in the pain I was suffering because I was different. People saw something in me that was different and that difference was my faith. I was living my life as my faith led me to and this made me stand out. I was suffering for my faith, just like Jesus warned us we would. That meant my faith was showing! What a beautiful thought! Knowing that my faith was visible enough to bring on ridicule meant I was shining a light into a dark world. It didn't matter how small that light was, it was shining into the darkness and the darkness didn't like it.

It's been many years since someone has ridiculed me for my faith, but I am no longer in situations where that is likely to happen. However, if I did venture out of my "bubble" at some point, I have no doubt that I would eventually run into someone who would feel the need to attack me or ridicule me for my faith. That would be a blessing. As Christians we are meant to be different and to reflect God's light into this darkened world.



Thank you, LORD, for letting me suffer for my faith and thereby strengthen my faith to shine more brightly for You

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