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Profiting From Suffering

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
November 30, 2022 12:00 am

Profiting From Suffering

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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November 30, 2022 12:00 am

Dr. Stanley teaches why Christians should view difficulty and pain differently than the world.


Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Wednesday, November 30th. Are you facing a difficult situation?

Today's podcast teaches you to look beyond your present circumstances and remember that God is always at work. A lot of people waste their sorrow and their suffering and their heartache and their troubles and their trials. They go through them complaining and moaning and groaning and wishing they could escape it.

And when it's all over, they say, am I glad that's over with? But never having learned anything, never having profited from it. But that is never the will of God that you and I experience suffering and heartache and trials and tribulations without profiting from it in some fashion. So I want you to turn to 1 Peter and the last chapter of 1 Peter is loaded with wonderful, rich truth.

And this is only a part of it. And it's his last admonition to his readers in this particular epistle. If you recall that Peter is writing to believers who are undergoing suffering and persecution simply because they are Christians and living in a society that is ungodly.

And as a result of that, he's writing this to encourage them. And when he comes to this last chapter, let's just begin with verse six, because there's a little prelude to what I want to say here. He says in verse six, humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you at the proper time. That is, if you and I will walk humbly before him, if there's going to be any exalting, lifting up, he's the one who's to do it. And therefore, there's no place for pride and arrogance in the Christian life, but rather to walk humbly, that is in submission to his will. So he says, humble yourself. Then he says, casting all your anxieties upon him because he cares for you. Then he gives us a warning. Be of sober spirit.

Be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil prowls about like a roaring lion who runs very low, very fast and very quietly. Seeking someone to devour or to destroy, but resist him firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. That is, you and I are never alone in whatever we're suffering. It doesn't make a difference what we're suffering. There are multitudes of people out there who may be undergoing the same.

It may be more hurtful, more painful or less, but they are. Then he says in verse ten, and after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself do four things. He will perfect you, confirm you, strengthen you and establish you. Now, the devil is attempting to destroy every child of God. Can't take away our salvation, but he can certainly cause great havoc in our relationship to him. And a part of that havoc is suffering that comes into our life. And I can either just complain about it or I can say, God, what is your goal for my life in this suffering? That is, every single solitary thing that God allows, he allows for a specific purpose ultimately to shape us in the likeness of Christ. So that in itself should say to us, we should never waste our suffering and our heartaches, our trials and our failures.

Never waste the failure no matter what. And what he's saying in this passage is we don't have to, and here are three reasons we do not have to. First of all, I want us to look at this, these two verses, sort of word by word and verse by verse here. He says, now after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace. Well, one of the reasons I know that you and I can profit from our sufferings is this, that the God of all grace is in control of our suffering. There's no such thing in the mind of God as loose, uncontrolled, uncontrollable suffering. That is, he says, if you'll recall in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 verse 13, there has no temptation taken you but such is his common demand, but God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted or to suffer more than you're able to bear. That is, every temptation, every trial, every heartache and every form of suffering no matter what it is has a limitation on it. And that limitation comes from a God of all grace. Now, grace is God's unmerited favor, undeserved love, and that is its unconditional love that he is exhibiting toward us in every facet of our life. So when we look at suffering and say, but God, if you love me, you wouldn't do this.

Oh, yes, he would. Because, you see, since he has a purpose in it all, and since he's a God of all grace, and it is under his control, it is not out of control. We may feel it's out of control. And the doctors may say, I can do nothing else about this.

There's nothing anyone can do. There is something God can do. If there is a single area of our life in which God is not sufficient, he is no longer God. He is omnipotent.

That means he has all power. And Paul said of himself in a time of great trial that he discovered that it's not our adequacy, but his adequacy. It is this God of all grace who not only promises to be adequate, but you and I have seen and have borne witness in knowing his Word, he is more than sufficient. So what Peter says in the very beginning, he said, I want you to know that you can profit from your suffering because of who's in control. The God of all grace, the God of all grace who is all sufficient, he's in control of your suffering.

There's a second reason I know that it is profitable because of something else he says in this passage. Look here if you will. He says, after you have suffered for, what's that? After you have suffered for a little while. Well, I don't mind that kind of suffering. I mean, you know, this afternoon or tonight or tomorrow.

I can handle that. After you've suffered for a little while, let me ask you a question. What's a little while? A little while in the mind of God is that period of time in this whole lifetime of ours in which he allows us to go through suffering for a very specific purpose. And you see, time with God isn't like it is with us. And here's a wonderful verse of scripture. Look, if you will, in 2 Corinthians chapter 4.

Listen to what he says. And again, it's a matter of our judgment of time because of the intensity or the lightness of the pain. In 2 Corinthians chapter 4, listen to this. Verse 16 says, Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man, that is this physical body of ours, is decaying, yet our inner man, our spirit, is being renewed day by day. That is, even though we're getting older or there's sickness or disease. He says, though this part of me is decaying on the inside, something fascinating is going on. Now look at verse 17. For momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. It's light from God's viewpoint. To me, it may be very heavy. He says, but here's the key.

The key to looking at the timing is this. That is to be wise enough to look at what I cannot see. What is it I cannot see? I cannot see with my physical eye all that God is working out in my life because of suffering. But if I'm willing to look through the eyes of God, I may at least be able to get a little glimpse of something that God has going on that I don't see. You see, he says, whatever this is in your life that you're suffering through, he says, now it's only for a moment against the background of eternity. And he says, besides that, it's a light affliction. Well, how could it be worse?

Die and go to hell and suffer forever. Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working out. He said, now, on the outside, things look pretty bad. But what seems to be decaying and falling away and I'm losing on the outside?

On the inside. He said there's something exciting going on. He says because God is renewing. God is working out his great purpose.

God is using this suffering to sand and to sift and to sculpture and to work and to polish up these old rough stones that he has saved and placed into his kingdom. Our light affliction is just for a moment. And he says it's what we don't see. Not what we see. He says what you and I see is temporal. These bodies as we know them are temporal. Money is temporal. Fame and fortune is temporal. Things that we experience are temporal. But what goes on on the inside? If we're going to profit from our suffering, I must recognize and acknowledge that the God of all grace is in charge of it.

And secondly, there is a limitation on this. He says for a little while, you say, well, what in the world is God up to? I do believe that if you and I are willing to be open and honest with him, he will show us what he's up to. God, what is your goal for this suffering and my life at this time? You see, if he has either sent suffering or allowed suffering in my life in order to deal with something, then he certainly wants me to know what the something is so I can deal with it. God is going to keep me in suspense and saying, you just guess.

Just go ahead and see if you can guess. No, God wants us to know what it is. And oftentimes we are so focused on the hurt and the pain. Maybe it's something that somebody else has caused or focused on them that we can't grasp what God's really up to in allowing this suffering to go on and on and on. Most of what is going to happen to us that's good is on the other side of this life. But there is much that is here that God is in the process of giving to us little by little. Now he says that some of this is going to come as a result of suffering. After you've suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory will himself, that is, he's in charge. He's not going to send down angels to do this or to do that or to do the other.

But God is in charge. Look back, if you will, in 1 Peter 1, verse 6. I want to give you this verse also. 1 Peter 1, verse 6. He says, In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you've been distressed by various trials.

That is, Peter understood. They were going through a very difficult time, distress and tension and anxiety and fear. He says, If necessary, you've been distressed by various trials.

Now watch this. That the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, intense pain, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. God is going to test our faith because He is going to strengthen our faith because His purpose is to make us like His Son and part of making us like His Son demands and requires suffering, hardships, trials, tribulations, persecutions and failures as part of growing up in the Lord. So it's not a time to have a pity party. It's a time to thank God and to praise Him. And He says, He says, though you have been distressed, does this mean that you and I should never complain? Well, I could say never complain, but that'd be a waste of time and I'd be being a hypocrite because sometimes I do. And I don't mind confessing that I do because I'm just as human as the next person and all of us are going to complain about some things.

But our complaints should be quickly followed by God. What's your goal in this tribulation? What's your goal? What are you up to?

What are you after? Why have you allowed this? And see, that's when it becomes profitable. When I get my eyes off of what's natural and what is temporal and get my eyes on what is invisible and what is eternal, God, you're testing my faith. You're strengthening me, purifying my spirit, strengthening the inner man, growing me up, making me like Christ. You see, here's the wonderful thing about God that it's hard for us to accept. He knows exactly what you and I need. And so you and I can never try to outguess God to say, well, the Lord ought to do this, that, and the other.

No, only God knows what I need. And the truth is that any suffering He sends our way or allows in our heart and our life is because we need it. I may not like that, but it's the truth. He says after you've suffered for a while, He says the God of all grace who's called us into His eternal glory, we're on our way to heaven.

There's not any question about that. He says here's what He will do. And the reason I know that our suffering can be profitable is because the God of all grace is in control and there's a limitation upon that suffering.

It's only for a little while. And thirdly, He says I have four objectives in mind. And He couldn't be any clearer than what He says.

Look at this. He says here's what He will do. He Himself, I love what He said, He Himself, not somebody else.

That is, it isn't going to be just a happenstance. What He's saying when He says will Himself, it means that God is personally interested in, that God is personally involved in, that God is guiding and guarding and controlling the suffering because He has four objectives in mind. Here's what He says they are. Number one, He says to perfect us. Does that mean to make us perfect?

No. That word is the same word that is used in Mark when the disciples are mending their nets, uses the same Greek word, which means to mend or to put back together, the word means, or to put a joint that's out of place back together. You know what He's saying? He says after you and I have suffered a while, that He Himself will make things right within us. He will put our life together in a beautiful fashion.

That's one of His goals. That's one of His objectives in allowing suffering, to put things back together right the way they ought to be. So you know, if there is suffering, what we need to ask is, God, are you trying to put something right in my life? Second thing He says here, He says to confirm us. What does He mean by that? Simply, He says to fix, firm it, to set. That is, in suffering, He is desirous not only to put things back right, but to set them.

That is, to fix them. And what He's saying here is, that we will no longer sway back and forth, but to so fix it that there's a sense of confidence. We feel confident that God is doing something very special in life. The third thing He says here is, He says to strengthen us. Now, if you'll notice that Satan, He says, is trying to devour us.

Now, think about this. Satan's attempts in our life are always to do what? To weaken us and wear us out and finally defeat us. And sometimes, if we don't respond right, that's what we'll allow suffering to do, to wear us out and to defeat us.

But God would never do that. And that's why He says here, that He has a fourfold goal in that suffering. So if we go through this period of suffering and we come through and learn to endure, then the next time we come through suffering, it oftentimes is more difficult and more painful and more intense and sometimes it's more.

Not always that way, but oftentimes it is because you see, a person never gets muscular and never strengthens their muscles by just sticking with a two-pound weight. And the inner man, more strain, more suffering, more heartache, what does it do? It teaches us to endure, builds our faith, and makes us Christ-like.

Christ who had perfect faith. So He says, one of His objectives here is to strengthen us. And then the last one He says, to establish you. And that word means, speaks of foundation. That is to so, so establish us on an immovable, unchanging foundation that you and I are strong in God. He's our refuge, He's our strength, He's our rock, He's our shield, He's our buckler, He's exceeding great reward. All through the Bible, He tells us what He is to us and all the time, it's something that He is to us.

So how do I know that I can profit from my suffering? First of all, the God of all grace is in charge of it. And secondly, He's limited to only a little while. And thirdly, He says, here's what I want to accomplish. He says, I want to make things right in your life. I want to set you in that sense of direction. I want to strengthen you and I want to establish you so that you are immovable.

No wind of doctrine that comes your way is going to wave you off. No amount of suffering and pain is going to cause you to doubt me or to distrust me or walk away and backslide and turn away from God and His people. But He says, to strengthen us to do what?

To make us Christ-like. Now, I have two choices. When I hurt, I can complain and I can groan. Or when I hurt, I can confess that Jesus Christ is in charge and I can grow in my spiritual life.

Now, listen to me carefully. Nobody else can make that determination for you but you. It doesn't make any difference what anybody does to you. Nobody can keep you from growing in the Lord. If you have an enemy, or someone who's really tearing you apart, they can't keep you from growing.

And no matter how much the intensity of their wrong may be, they can't keep you from growing. There's only one person who can make your suffering a waste, and that's you. And my friend, you don't have to waste your suffering. If you're wise, you won't waste your money. If you're wise, you won't waste your time.

And if you're wise, you won't waste your suffering. Thank you for listening to Profiting from Suffering. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-30 18:45:12 / 2022-11-30 18:53:18 / 8

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