Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
JOY IN SUFFERING
Philippians 1: 1-11
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
What do others feel when they remember you? In this day and age, we live a very “unconnected-connected” lifestyle. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, you name it, we got it. With a click or swipe of a finger, we can know what others are doing, who they are with, and most importantly…what their “status” is at all times. How can we find out what others really feel about us? Is there an app for that?
Not Complaining at difficult times: Here we can see that Paul is writing to his friends in Philippi conveying to them how he, “Thanks God every time he remembers them.” This may seem like a common saying between individuals, but remember that Paul was in prison, chained, and oppressed when he wrote these words! I can only imagine the difficultly Paul went through just to get any type of communication out from the inside of a prison, but what is even more impressive is what he had to say. He did not complain about his imprisonment or seek any type of action for his release; instead he let his friends know that he was thankful for them and how much joy they brought him in his life, especially during suffering. Are you the joy in someone’s suffering?
Recognizing God’s purpose in difficult times: Why did Paul feel this way? The answer is simple: purpose and prayer. Paul and the believers knew that God had a purpose for his people, wherever they may be, even if it be in prison. Paul boldly states that he trusts that God to enable the believers to accomplish the works He has set out for them to do. The only question now is whether or not we will trust and allow Him to do so as well. Secondly, Paul was able to feel the encouragement and love through the prayers of the fellow believers. We as a people often rely on physical, financial, or technological modes of helping or encouraging others, but seldom do we remember to pray for them. We disregard the power of prayer! Recently, many of the people of the East Coast Region in the U.S experienced how Hurricane Sandy damaged homes, caused loss of heat and electricity, and created ridiculously long lines at empty gas stations. Everyone fled to Facebook/Twitter in order to make sure friends and family were ok, but how many of us actually took the time to pray for each other? Remember, Paul wasn’t encouraged because of a “wall post” or “tweet” that he received, but instead by the prayers of Christian believers entrusting God to relay the message to him.
Prayer: Lord, help us to spent time with others and to be the joy in someone’s suffering. May we truly connect with each other through prayer, and encourage one other that God will work to accomplish the good works He has already set us out to do. Amen.
St. Andrews Mar Thoma Church, New York