Learn About/Subscribe:
Christian Union

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

We live in a world where many view suffering as the primary indicator you are doing something wrong.  “You made a bad decision.” “You should have tried harder or prepared more."  Even when we view suffering through the lens of Christian faith, we hear similar reverberations.  “You don’t have enough faith.” “God must be judging you.”  While those are at times absolutely true, they can discredit the oft-neglected reason we suffer—for the good purposes of God.  Are we not called to persevere?  Are we not called to fight against the affliction of this present life?

As Christian believers, we shouldn’t be surprised when we suffer; in fact, we should be surprised we don’t suffer more!  Our call to follow Christ is one that should highlight our suffering.  He suffered and so should we!  It is one’s endurance through suffering that is actually a testament to their faith.  It is in the relapse of suffering where God’s judgement upon us is most vivid and real.  Does suffering so shake the foundation of your faith?  If so, I must ask, on what sort of foundation have you built your faith?  Our faith, if it is indeed genuine, will cause us to find comfort in the midst of suffering—hope in the midst of despair.  It will encourage us that the difficulties in suffering are actually a marker of our Christian faith.

But let us not suffer as masochists.  Let us suffer as those bringing the message of life.  Let us suffer as those bringing the message of forgiveness.  Let us suffer knowing our suffering is in the hands of a God who brings purpose to the trials we suffer. 

“For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” - 2 Corinthians 1:5 

As Paul David Tripp writes, “Suffering does not mean that God’s plan has failed. It is the plan.  Suffering is a sign that we are in the family of Christ and the army of the kingdom.  We suffer because we carry his name.  We suffer so that we may know him more deeply and appreciate his grace more fully.  We suffer so that we may be part of the good he does in the lives of others.” (Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands, 153)

As we seek the Lord in the midst of this fast, let us pray that we may suffer well, unto Him, and for His glory.  

Zachary Albanese
Ministry Fellow at Dartmouth