Friday, June 16, 2017

The Daily Grace - Why Suffer?

Jesus taught that the world seen from God's viewpoint is tilted in favor of the oppressed. This teaching emerges in the Sermon on the Mount and other statements of Jesus: the first will be last (Matt. 19:130; Mark 10:31; Luke 13:30), and he who humbles himself will be exalted (Luke 14:11; 18:14). But why would God single out the oppressed for special attention? 1. Suffering helps us realize our urgent need for redemption; 2. Suffering helps us experience our dependence on God and our interdependence with one another; 3. Suffering helps us distinguish between necessities and luxuries; 4. Suffering helps us respond to the call of the gospel because we may have become so desperate that we cry out to God.

The poor, the hungry, the mourners, and those who suffer are blessed (Matt. 5:3-6) because their lack of self-sufficiency is obvious to them every day. They must turn somewhere for strength. People who are rich, successful and beautiful may go through life relying on their natural gifts. But people who are needy, dependent and dissatisfied with life are more likely to welcome God's free gift of love.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit". Why? Because "theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:3). The weaker we feel, the harder we lean on God.