You Aren't Alone in Suffering
Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
1 Peter 5:9 (ESV)
Last week we saw the reality of being stalked, and the necessity of resisting Satan. One of his main tactics is to interpret circumstances in such a way as to misrepresent God’s intention and involvement in our lives.
Remember the Serpent did that in the Garden of Eden. With all the bountiful trees surrounding Adam and Eve, he implied that God was enticing them but would not let them eat. Then when Eve corrected him, he insisted that God did not want them to eat of the one forbidden tree because he was selfishly jealous and wanted to prevent them from reaching their potential. See how he took the observable circumstances and reinterpreted them? God provided a fruit for every taste of his beloved. He prohibited their eating of the one tree because he was jealous for their enjoyment. He wanted them to experience the unspeakable joy of trust.
Evidently in the first century, the believers were being persecuted because they were different than their neighbors primarily because they had a source of joy that was mysterious. The “roaring lion” was accusing them of being the only ones suffering such rejection. He was insinuating that they had been forgotten and uncared for. After all, God would not let people he loved suffer such. Peter had to remind them that what they were experiencing was common to all believers over the known world.
Have you ever heard those accusations in your thoughts? As you look around it seems that everyone is so happy and carefree while you are enduring all kinds of conflict and struggle. Surely you are doing something wrong that has caused God to withdraw his favor from you. If you continue to listen to the conversation, you will be moved to do something to get God to love you. That moves you totally from the perspective of love. The very nature of God’s love is that it is unmerited. If you could do something to get it, you would be paying for it. It is not only free. It is unlimited and unearned.
It is essential that you are hearing a different narrative. Listen to the gospel. There is no condemnation. No accusation. God has not left you. He left heaven for you. Your suffering is not evidence of his lack of love, but of his abundant love. He delights in your daily trust, and your delight in his faithfulness is your joy.