How do we push through our pain?
Today from Chuck Swindoll. Just trust in your Lord to take you through. No one can tell you all the reasons why you have to go through such hard times. Accept the mystery of hardship and suffering and misfortune and know for sure that God will protect you by His power from now through eternity. So what's occupying your thoughts these days? Do you find yourself mulling over the damage caused by a broken relationship?
Or maybe you're troubled by an accusation leveled against you that's not true. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll continues a message he introduced yesterday. He's teaching from 1 Peter Chapter 1 where the former fisherman shows us how to cope with suffering. In fact, Peter offers timeless wisdom on how to overcome inevitable moments of pain, disappointment, and grief.
Chuck titled today's message Hope Beyond Suffering, How We Can Smile Through Suffering. If you have your Bible or New Testament open to 1 Peter, allow me to read the first two verses and you follow along as we observe, just by way of review, the one who wrote the letter and those who received the letter and some things about both. Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ to those who reside as aliens scattered throughout Pontius, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who were chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with his blood.
May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure. Here is Peter, the man who once made his living as a fisherman, who was called to be a disciple, dropped his nets with his brother Andrew, and joined the band of twelve, and for three or so years, listened to, walked with, slept beside, ate alongside, and learned from Jesus Christ. He's calling himself here an apostle of Jesus Christ, and he writes to whom? Aliens who are scattered.
The recipients of the letter are scattered aliens. People who knew what it was like to be away from home, not by choice, but by force. Persecution had arisen.
They were no longer able to stay in the familiarity of their home, and they were pushed out into a world that was not only unfamiliar, but hostile. Now then, beginning about verse three, down through verse nine, the apostle Peter talks about how we can deal with suffering times and even rejoice through them. Because we have this in common, I think it will strike a common note between us. All of us, though our sufferings are different, all of us are chosen as God's people. All of us are being sanctified. All of us are being given grace and peace in fullest measure. By the way, those words fall flat if you haven't the Savior, or if you're not walking with the Savior. They can just be Christian cliches. Grace and peace be yours in fullest measure.
Well, I think those bony words need flesh. And I think the flesh that softened those words is provided in verses three through nine so that we can actually rejoice in times of suffering, living in that grace and peace that is ours in fullest measure. Let me point out in these several verses six ways we can rejoice through hard times. Or maybe we could call it six reasons.
All of these six reasons begin with the same words we have. We can rejoice to begin with because we have a living hope. That's verse three. We can rejoice through the hardest times because we have a living hope. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Nothing occurs on this earth, nothing occurs that puts us into the final chapter of our lives. Now, men and women who know Jesus Christ, the final chapter of our lives is heaven.
It is heaven. It is the glory that will be revealed in the last time. It is when we step into the presence of the living God. That is the final chapter. Nothing else on this earth qualifies as the final chapter. So we always have this hope, this living hope. James M. Gray expressed it like this. Who can mind the journey when the road leads home?
Isn't that a good way to put it? Who can mind what happens on this earth because the road is leading us home? That is our hope. Why does he mention the resurrection of Jesus from the dead? Because that's the basis of our hope.
If God could pull Jesus Christ from the pit of pits, death after crucifixion, he can lift us from the pit of our lives unto an eternal home that he is preparing for us. We have a living hope. You realize how scarce this business of hope is to those without Christ?
One cynical writer, H.L. Mencken, referred to hope as a pathological belief in the occurrence of the impossible. That's the definition an unbeliever will give to hope. A pathological belief in the occurrence of the impossible.
Dante, the Italian poet, in his work The Divine Comedy placed this inscription over the world of the dead. Abandon all hope, those who enter here. To the unsaved, hope is nothing more than wishing upon a star.
Great lyrics for a fun song. If you wish upon a star. That kind of hope.
Hope for the unbeliever is, I sure hope so. As I heard a lady say when she paid three dollars to buy some lottery tickets. And the guy who sold them to her said, I hope you win. She answered, I hope so too. I hope I win the lottery. I hope my boy comes home someday. I sure hope things work out for me in my job. That's not a living hope. That's wishful thinking.
I sure hope it works out. No, Peter says to those of us in the Lord Jesus, God has caused us to be born again and it is a living hope. Promised through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. You want to smile, you want to rejoice through times of suffering. Remind yourself, this isn't the end. This isn't the end.
This isn't the end. The end for us is the presence of God. We have a living hope. Second, we can rejoice through sufferings because we have a permanent inheritance. Verse four, we have a permanent inheritance.
He has caused us to be born again to a living hope. To obtain an inheritance. Look at these great words, which is imperishable, undefiled, will not fade away and is reserved in heaven for you.
Notice the location. It is an inheritance in heaven. It is imperishable, it is undefiled, it is unfading and it is reserved. It is in the safe keeping of almighty God. It is under the constant omnipotent surveillance of almighty God. It will never perish through the passing of time. It cannot be defiled by the presence of corruption that will never enter in.
It does not fade. The glory will not be diminished. And the best part of all, it is reserved for you and for me. Have you ever had the disappointing experience of holding onto tickets that are marked reserved and then getting to the place you were going to go and other people are sitting in the same seats? It isn't funny, but I'm just laughing having had the experience in my life. It is especially delightful after a long trip across the country and you made arrangements at the hotel to stay at that particular room and you guaranteed the arrival by giving them your card number and they guaranteed the reservation of that place.
And you show up at 930 exhausted and they look at you like you are from Mars when you give them your name and they do all of the voodoo on the computer and nothing comes up near your name and they look at you with that blank look like who are you and you show him or them your documents and you ask to speak to the manager and he comes out and gives you the same look and then they put you in a flophouse two blocks down the street telling you they're sorry that there was some kind of confusion. That will not happen in glory. They will not look at you like, now what did you say your name was? The living God will welcome you home because it is a permanent inheritance. I don't care what you go through on this earth, your home is guaranteed.
You have a place reserved for you. Our church grieved recently over the death of one of our members. Buck and I spent a lunch with the widower as we talked of the home going of his wife prior to the memorial service the next morning. And as Buck and I listened, this dear man told us about the last moments he was with his beloved wife. He had been along her side for nine, ten months of constant, constant care as they walked through the valley of cancer together. And as she was breathing her last, he took her face in his hands and he looked her right in the eyes and he said words like, my sweetheart, it's okay, you're going home, just go on home, and she died, she died.
How could he promise her such a thing? Because the inheritance is reserved for her. At that moment of time, her spirit left her body and he laid her head down and within hours, she was in the ground. That is her remains. But absent from the body, she was face to face with the Lord, reserved.
Her name was on the place. I don't know what that does to you, but it sure does give me a feeling of reason in all of this, an ultimate purpose in it all. As difficult as life gets on this earth, the better heaven looks every day. One man has said, hope is not a sedative, it is a shot of adrenaline, a blood transfusion. Like an anchor, our hope in Christ stabilizes us in the storms of life, but unlike an anchor, it does not hold us back.
This is our hope, men and women. This is our inheritance. That's why we can rejoice in times of suffering, because this isn't the end.
There's a third reason to rejoice. It's in the next verse, verse 5. Because we have a divine protection. We have a divine protection. This place is reserved in heaven for you and me who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. There is no way you and I will be lost in the process of these suffering times. We are absolutely saved. We are divinely protected. No matter the calamity, no matter the kind of death, no matter the depth of pain, no matter the horror you're going through right now, and if I may be even more specific, no matter the destruction that occurs in the body at the time of death. Some people, God bless them, were right there at Pearl Harbor when there was the bombing and their bodies were blown to bits. So what happens in warfare? So what happens in times of tragic calamities?
That is of no concern to our Heavenly Father as far as their eternal inheritance is concerned. He who made us from nothing can put us back together from nothing. He has the ability to take our bodies and to protect us through death by his power and to reveal in the last times this ultimate deliverance he will provide. James Moffett writes, God stands between you and all that menaces your hope or threatens your eternal welfare.
The protection here is entirely and directly the work of God. Just trust in your Lord to take you through. No one can tell you all the reasons why you have to go through such hard times.
No one can explain that to you, that is to complete satisfaction. Accept the mystery of hardship and suffering and misfortune and mistreatment and know for sure that God will protect you by his power from now through eternity. We have a family in our church that lost their home on Labor Day weekend. They watched their belongings go up in smoke. I spoke with them this morning.
It's amazing they're now smiling again. They know there is a purpose beyond this. They can explain why it would happen to them.
There is no one who can explain why theirs burned and the one next door did not or yours or mine did not. But their hope is not in what they owned or where they lived. Their hope is beyond that. Furthermore, as the husband and wife both quietly admitted, the insurance company will build them a new place.
So that's a good time to rebuild and to redesign the place. But you can't take away, I mean you can't give back some of those things that got burned up in the process. If your hope rests in things, you're going to live your life disappointed and depressed because they will continually be taken from you or taken advantage of.
Peter's writing to people who had very little and he's saying there's a protection that wraps around you. You can rejoice. We can rejoice because we have a living hope. We can rejoice because we have a permanent, permanent inheritance because we have divine protection.
There's a fourth reason. It's in the next two verses, six and seven. We can rejoice because we have a developing faith.
A developing faith. I don't want you to miss this. This is terribly important. In this, you greatly rejoice. This is the first time, first of many times, he will refer to rejoicing in times of difficulty. In this, you greatly rejoice. Even though now, for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials. That the proof of your faith, here's this developing faith, that the proof of your faith being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Here is joy in spite of, not because of, the testing.
Notice how he put it. In this, you greatly rejoice even though. This is a terribly important point. We don't rejoice because times are hard. We rejoice in spite of the fact they are hard. Now this passage, these two verses, tell us several things about trials. In fact, I count four things we learn about trials. First, they are needed.
See how he puts it? Even though for a while, if necessary, trials are needed. They prove the genuineness of our faith. That's one thing trials do. They also humble us.
They put us on our face before God. They make us realistic. I like the way one man put it, pain plants the flag of reality in the fortress of a rebel heart. You don't find many proud people on death beds, on sick beds. You find people who have learned the helplessness in their lives.
So they are necessary. Second, they are distressing, painful, they are not easy. Even though for a little while you have been distressed.
Allow me to give you a tip about counseling other people who are going through hard times. Never make light of another person's test. I don't care if you have gone through twice what they have gone through. It doesn't help the person who has lost a child to hear that you endured the loss of two. Be careful how you talk with a person undergoing trials.
It is easy for us not meaning to make light of them to give the impression we are doing that by comparing what they have gone through with something much worse that someone else has gone through. A trial is a trial and it's distressing. It's painful. It brings anguish.
To force someone to smile through a trial is cruel. To encourage their sorrow. Enter into it with them. Put your arm around them.
Don't give them a lot of verses. Don't try to make them pray with you or sing with you. Weep with them. Tell them you understand. Express your sympathy in their loss. Feel what they're feeling.
Walk in their shoes. It's distressing. It rarely helps to tell someone who's suffering they need to paste on a smile. Instead, Peter gives us a model. He explains that sometimes we need to validate suffering. You're listening to Insight for Living and Chuck Swindoll, our Bible teacher, titled his message Hope Beyond Suffering.
If you'd like to know more about this ministry, visit us online at insightworld.org. Plan to join us again next time as Chuck spends the entire program offering application from this passage in 1 Peter. In particular, he'll describe how to replace our resentment with rejoicing. Well, I'm pleased to remind you that Chuck wrote a helpful book on this topic as well.
Actually, it's a classic. His book is called Hope Again, When Life Hurts and Dreams Fade. Getting beyond the hard stuff in life is rarely accomplished through our own strength. In your suffering, God wants to draw near.
He wants to share in your suffering and guide you toward recovery. We believe this 17-chapter book, squarely founded on the wisdom of 1 Peter, will help you. To purchase a copy of Hope Again, go to insight.org slash store or call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. Bear in mind that your gift to Insight for Living, large or small, will be directly applied toward providing Chuck's teaching on your station or wherever you listen to this program. Since our first broadcast in 1979 until now, God has magnified the reach of this ministry through generous people just like you. Your voluntary gift today will ensure that we continue serving our audience across the country and around the world as an oasis of biblical hope. To join us in this mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ around the world, we invite you to give a generous donation.
If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888, or you can give online at insight.org. Take it from Chuck Swindoll. There's nothing quite like the beauty of the great frontier. Wide open skies, pristine glaciers with various shades of blue and turquoise, mingled within them, towering pine trees and all manner of wildlife. I'll tell you, Alaska is truly a masterpiece of God's creation. I've been to a lot of places and seen a lot of things, but honestly, nothing compares to the beauty in Alaska.
God is awesome. Come with us on the Insight for Living Ministries cruise to Alaska, July 1st through July 8th, 2023. When I'm in Alaska, I feel like I'm in an amazing painting created by God. Let yourself get lost in the majestic beauty. Spend quality time with those you love. Allow God to refresh your soul as you reflect on His word and His goodness in your life. To learn more, go to insight.org slash events, or call this number, 1-888-447-0444.
The tour to Alaska is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I'm Bill Meyer, inviting you to join us next time when Chuck Swindoll continues our study in First Peter called Hope Again on Insight for Living. The preceding message, Hope Beyond Suffering, How We Can Smile Through Suffering, was copyrighted in 1988, 1990, 1996, 2005, and 2010. And the sound recording was copyrighted in 2011 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
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