Suffering is a sure sign that we are on the path of righteousness. The difference between suffering in the world and suffering for God is, with God we still rejoice and find joy in the suffering. God gives us worldly examples of soldiers and athletes to help us relate to serving voluntarily and working for something we pour our whole selves into. When we are given alternate perspectives of what He is calling us to we are able to more easily obey. With obedience, we can receive grace from Jesus Christ freely. Our suffering produces matured obedience that in turn, makes us strong in His grace. In order to live our lives full of hope, joy, peace, exuberance, and so much more we have to freely accept His grace all the time. Living in a world that does not give grace so freely, accepting grace can be a difficult task. When we reverse engineer taking the path of suffering to grow our obedience, we find grace waiting for us and all the incredible things that come with grace. We become the hardworking farmer who received the first share of crops.
2 Timothy 2:1-7 NIV
We cannot lose the focus of God in everything we do, think, and say. Even in death, He is the focus. When we believe in Christ we believe in the infinite. Nothing is finite anymore, this includes death. Neverending hope is spurred from this realized reality. With this perspective, our sufferings serve simply as a way to get to know Christ better. We divorce ourselves from the world and learn His ways. We gain access to freedom and burden free living. This all because we are no longer dependent on ourselves, rather we place the full dependence of life on Him. The enemy wants us to question our sufficiency. Through God's supremacy we are always sufficient. However, we must be cautious not to take on what is God’s job. We cannot have victory over this life by our works. It’s through Christ’s death, He claimed victory for all of us. This burden no human could ever take on. Thus, we are not sufficient without Him. It is only with and through Him that we can conquer anything.
Philippians 1:20-21 NIV
A Story of Being Sufficient:
I was diagnosed with PTSD in 2017. Needless to say the military did a bit of a number on my mental health. When I received this diagnosis it was validating, yet also very defeating. I felt validated because I knew I wasn’t crazy and the terrible things that had happened to me had left their mark. I felt defeated because with a diagnosis like this it would hold me back and keep me stalled in one place until, well until I didn’t know when.
Walking around with a diagnosed mental illness made me feel broken most of the time. I also felt like I would never get better. It really felt like a death sentence. I struggled with suicidal ideations that plagued my day to day and yet a part of me still felt like I was crazy and just making it all up. It is an odd place to need validation all the time and then feel defeated when validation came.
Nevertheless, I persisted in living. I refused to let my mind win. This was by my will power. It never got me very far. I finally surrendered my battle to God. Not once, twice or even three times. I surrender it everyday. I don’t just pray, but I have learned His word and learn more everyday. His word has become my weapon when the enemy comes knocking. The enemy comes knocking often. The difference now is I know I am enough through His words. God provides my sufficiency. My suicidal ideations have dissipated. My hope for life is greater than it's ever been. I might still have PTSD, but the world loses its power over me every time I depend on Him. I depend on Him a whole lot these days.
Strengthen the Christian Planner Family by sharing your experiences. We'd love to hear a story about God's work in your life. Use the form linked below to submit your story.
Considerations for your planner:
- Do you feel like you are in a season of suffering? If your answer is yes, write down how you can rejoice in this time for how you are coming closer to God.
- Do you question your sufficiency? If yes, write down what you feel is your responsibility and what is God’s in this life. Complete dependency on Him gives us complete sufficiency.