Hi everyone, welcome back to Serenity in The Spirit! We have now reached the conclusion of our suffering series ‘Cast Your Cares’. Thank you for sticking with it, I hope it has helped you gain a better understanding of a Christian perspective on suffering. If you already consider yourself to be a Christian, I hope that this series has reminded you of all the tools God has given us to help deal with the inevitable stresses of life
As this is the last post of the series, I will take the opportunity to sum up the contents of ‘Cast You Cares’ with reference to previous posts where you can find more detail. As always, if you have any questions about anything I write, if you would like to share your story, if you have any prayer requests or any feedback you can write to me here (anonymously if you choose).
So, in Part 1 we spoke about how God is expectant and waiting for us to go to Him with our struggles. He wants us to lay our burdens at His feet so we can free our minds as we no longer need to carry these burdens ourselves. This is easier said than done however it is definitely worth trying. God will reward our efforts, remember: you can always ask Him to help you open up to Him, He just wants our honesty.
When we give our problems to God, we can expect to feel God’s peace that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7). We are encouraged to ‘cast’ our cares unto Him because He cares for us (1 Peter:5:7). Personally, when I consider what this verse actually means, I find it overwhelming. God is so wonderful and loving that despite the fact He does not have to, He cares about us and wants to hear all of our troubles. God is the true definition of love, He loves us even if we don’t love Him and even when we don't deserve it – wow!
So if it is as simple as giving our troubles to God, why do we get unhappy Christians who are suffering?
Because as it says in the Bible: we will suffer in this lifetime…it’s inevitable because of the three reasons I listed previously:
- We sometimes think prayer isn’t working because we can’t see a positive result quick enough
- We sometimes think prayer isn’t working because we see our problems getting worse
- Our help comes in a form we were not expecting
As I have mentioned, giving our struggles to God is easier said than done and so we should be preparing ourselves in times when we are not struggling or our struggles are less intense. This can be in the form of praying for our future selves, reading the word and listening to sermons/talks about suffering (there are a host on YouTube). It also helps hearing other people’s testimonies on how they overcame similar situations to the ones we may find ourselves in. This preparation is key to fighting away the enemy and deepening our faith and trust in God.
In Part 2, we discussed the reasons for/purposes of suffering. I summed it up with the following points:
- ‘The Fall’ – The Bible says the generations after Adam and Eve will face the consequence of sin (Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit). More about this can be found in Genesis - Chapter 3.
- Free Will – free will means that we have a choice in what we do with our lives. When we choose to sin, we (and in some cases, those around us) face the consequences (suffering).
- Recognising God’s power – God does not make us suffer so that we realise we need Him but suffering can bring that mindset to us. He has all the plans and the answers and once He brings us through, we are more likely to have more faith in Him in the future.
- Testimony - Once the Lord has healed us, provided a way out, and/or given us the strength to come out the other side of our adversities we have a testimony. This testimony can be used to encourage others and our experiences can help us comfort others too.
I would like to conclude this summary with a reminder on how we can cope with and overcome suffering (as discussed in Part 3). Some of the main ways include prayer, the Bible, some self-help books, sermons/talks, encouraging social media posts and, of course, supportive friends and family. However, I believe it is not just one of these that brings us relief, it is a combination of them that can help us.
In times of struggle it is sometimes hard to find the energy to do any of these things, in these instances I would like to encourage you to just say the following. Copy and paste it into your notes for easy future access:
“God, please help me. I am feeling weak/tired/vulnerable/sick/*insert appropriate word here* but I know I need You and I know You know my heart. Please surround me with Your peace right now and strengthen me so I am able to think clearly of Your truths. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
May I also suggest that you ask for prayer here (can be anonymous) and I will pray for you.
Thank you for reading this series! I hope you have found it helpful, I’ve certainly found it interesting to write. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject of suffering even if they differ to mine.
FYI: I will be taking a short break from writing blog posts but I hope to be back with something very special for Christmas time… keep an eye out :D. I will be continuing to post on SiTS social media though both Instagram and Twitter
Song of the post: No Longer Slaves – Bethel Music ft Nathan David & Melissa Helser