September 7, 2003


Volume 13 - Number 37     

How Can I Cope With My Suffering?

Suffering is a universal problem that affects both the rich and poor, educated and the unlearned, and every race known to man. Although suffering extends its unwelcome presence to all abroad, it takes many different forms and shapes and is experienced in various degrees as it brings it's hurtful realities upon us all.

But how can I cope with my suffering? Are there any steps or secrets to bearing the unbearable? There are steps I can take to cope with the unpleasant reality of suffering, but these steps are not secrets. They are manifested in the lives of men and women of God openly and without reservation throughout the Lord's revealed word. I would like to bring to our attention four of these biblical skills to help cope with our own suffering.

First, I must identify with Christ. If I'm not a Christian, or I am not living faithful to the name I once chose to wear, I will not be able to receive the Lord's blessings, promises, and benefits he so abundantly gives. In fact Jesus stated that I must seek the kingdom of God first; then in Matthew 5:3-12 Christ reveals characteristics of those who are seeking first that kingdom of God and the blessing they will reap in having these traits. What suffering one among us could not find the strength to cope with life's hurtful blows knowing that we have such promises as seeing God, divine comfort, the necessities of life, divine mercy, being God's children, and one day inhabiting the glorious place called heaven!

Secondly, I can learn to cope with suffering by allowing the suffering to produce endurance and strength. A champion weight lifter does not begin lifting record weight on his first day of training. Day after day weight is added and then conquered. Finally, that record weight, which once seemed impossible to lift, is now handled with confidence and with ease. How was this achieved? By learning to cope gradually with smaller amounts of weight, and then slowly increasing it in order to build endurance and strength, for the record lift. Likewise, we as Christians can build endurance and strength as the early Christians did, by successful lifting each weight of suffering that life places upon our shoulders. This will prepare us for even greater degrees of intense suffering in the future.

Thirdly, I must maintain a positive outlook on my suffering. This will not remove my circumstances, but it will give me greater coping ability. If there are any two men that come to mind who better demonstrated this coping skill, it was Paul and Silas in that cold, damp, first century prison cell ( Acts 16:19-25). If any two had reason to wallow in self-pity and tears it was these men. They were severely beaten, shamed and then cast into jail. They didn't deserve those circumstances, yet they didn't allow their situation to diminish their attitude. They focused upon the joys that the world could not take from them. They kept their eyes focused upon Christ and his joy in which they shared. This didn't eradicate their problems, but it certainly made them easier to bear.

Fourthly, I can cope with my suffering by becoming a wounded healer. No one can fully understand your suffering better than one who has undergone similar circumstances. If I have coped with certain suffering in my life, I can assist others in coping with the same. I can help them find those bridges to happiness and contentment that I myself may have already crossed. No doubt David had this in mind in his penitent prayer of forgiveness. He said, "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee" (Ps 51:12-13). In other words David would use his own suffering through sin to teach others of the grace of God. For if God could forgive David's deliberate sins, God could forgive others also. David was a wounded healer. He was willing to use his tragedies to help others triumph.

Suffering has been the physical and spiritual downfall for multitudes of people. But by identifying with Christ, allowing suffering to build endurance and strength, by maintaining a positive outlook, and by becoming wounded healers, we can learn to cope with the problems and unpleasant circumstances that life will surely bring.

Barry Gilreath Jr.

—————————————————————————
Sympathy
To the family of Ernest Bowker. Bro. Ernest passed away this past Tuesday evening in his sleep. Services will be held in Tennessee.

AM SERMON:
"When Troubles Persist"
1 Corinthians 10:1-10
PM SERMON:
"Desert School"
Exodus 2:15-25

Mark Your Calendars:

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.”

Keller

 

SERVICE OOPPORTUNITIES

 

Remember in Prayer

Announcements:

 Wayne Vowell

 


Brayan Felipe
Diego Felipe
Walt Thompson
Glen Riggenbach
Frank Small
Art Stapleton
Bill Sherman
Boyd Prevett

Ushers:

 

 Delbert Leavens

 

Morning Services

 

Bible Reading:

 Dick Navarre  

Songs:

 Larry Jenson  

Sermon:

 Ted Wheeler

 

Closing Prayer:

 Clarence Riggenbach

 
     

Evening Services

 

Opening Prayer:

 Kerry Keathley

 

Songs:

 Larry Jenson

 

Sermon:

 Ted Wheeler  

Closing Prayer:

 Jim Dougan

 
Our Record - Last Week

Communion

Attendance:
62
Delbert Leavens
Carl Rigney - Sean Keathley
Troy Wheeler
Contribution:
$ 2882.01
Budget:
$ 2695.00
Copyright 2000-2006 Church of Christ of Venice. All Rights Reserved.