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First World Problems? No Problem!

Suffering Comfort Patience

Contributed By: Rob Tucker | Date Posted: 2019-01-19

Scripture: Philippians 2:7 ; James 1:2

Author: Rob Tucker
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ILLUSTRATION

As Americans, we are often easily frustrated with what are called First World Problems.  Here are a few examples (feel free to add your own!):

• When you say something on social media which you think is really clever, but hardly anyone "likes" it!

• When your kids put dishes in the dishwasher, BEFORE they unload it. Now, you have to play the game of which one is clean.

• When you run out of hot water for the shower because someone else took too long.

• When you and your spouse can’t agree on what temperature to keep the thermostat.

• When your phone battery dies before you get home from work to charge it.

• When you're eating chips, crunching so loudly that you can’t hear the TV. So annoying!

• When you get chicken tenders from the drive through, but they forget the dipping sauce.

APPLICATION

For most of us, the worst discomforts we face each week are trivial. That's why it is so hard to relate to all that Jesus did for us when he came to earth and suffered on the cross. The Bible says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance" (James 1:2, 3).

Every time we patiently endure suffering, major or minor, we become a little bit more like Christ. But don't be concerned if you blow it over some trivial thing.  God will give you another chance, and another, and another, etc., until, with practice, you demonstrate the longsuffering of Jesus. 

First world problems are no problem to God.  Rather, each one is an opportunity for you and me to grow in Christlikeness.  

What Job Knew

Humility Trust (In God) Suffering

Contributed By: Corey Sawyers | Date Posted: 2018-09-08

Scripture: Job 19:25 ; Job 40:1

Author: Corey Sawyers
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ILLUSTRATION

One way to study the Bible is by marking the keywords of a book. Take a keyword and follow it through to see how it is used in the text.  In the book of Job, "know" is such a word. It is used often, 87 times, in fact. However, what is most interesting in the book is how it is used.

APPLICATION

When tragedy strikes, a conversation begins between Job and his friends in which what they "know" (or think they know) is very much at the forefront. Job will argue that he doesn't know why this is happening because he has done no wrong. His three friends contend that they know Job must have committed some great sin. All the evidence they think they need to see is in Job's circumstances. 

Job answers that indeed he does not know what he has done. Still, he does know one crucial fact; that God is in control (see 19:25; 31:6, et al.).

After several rounds, a fourth friend (Elihu) stands up. He has heard enough. He rebukes these four old men for running their mouth and not doing what is right (32:6-7). This young man just knows he has it all figured out (32:10, 17; 33:3; 36:4, et al.).

Then God speaks. Rather than answer Job or his friends, God challenges them. If they know so much, let them give some knowledge to the Lord God (38:2-5, 12, 18, 21, 33; 39:1-2; 40:6). In 40:1-6, Job answers the Lord. He says, "I know nothing but You. You teach me."

So, from the book of Job, what can we know?

That we do not know why any particular person is suffering.
That we can make suffering worse for someone when we presume to know.
That the only thing we need to know when it comes to suffering is the One in control.

I may not know what tomorrow may bring. I may never know why I endure certain things. All I need to know is the Lord God. He knows all, is all-powerful, and cares for each of us. 

Voluntary Suffering

Suffering Submission Worship

Source: Letters to an American Lady By C. S. Lewis, p. 57.

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-06-17

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 10:31

Author: C.S. Lewis / Mitchell Dillon
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ILLUSTRATION

C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Always remember that poverty and every other ill, lovingly accept, has all the spiritual value of voluntary poverty or penance.”

What an interesting idea it is that even those things that are forced on us can be turned and used for our own spiritual benefit. This reminds me of my Drill Instructor back in bootcamp. His approach to finding volunteers was to handpick those who would volunteer.

My DI took all the fun out of volunteering. He certainly took the free-will part out of it! Or did he?

APPLICATION

Is't it true that despite my lack of choice in bootcamp, I still had a choice? I still had the power to decide the attitude with which I would respond to the assignment that had been doled out to me. Similarly, there is a dimension of free-will in everything we must face, even those things that life forces on us.

Life cannot rob us of this God given power. We always have the choice to volunteer to serve Him in all things.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31).

In the Cross Jesus Embraces Our Pain

Cross Suffering Free Will

Contributed By: Fred Gates | Date Posted: 2015-03-23

Scripture: Hebrews 4:15

Author: John Stott / Illustration Exchange
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The $300 Hammer

Perspective Suffering Jesus' Suffering

Contributed By: Jeff Johnson | Date Posted: 2015-03-02

Scripture: 1 Peter 4:12

Author: Jeff Johnson
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Get Ahead of the Pain

Suffering Preparation Spiritual Growth

Contributed By: Barnett Gushin | Date Posted: 2015-02-03

Scripture: 2 Chronicles 34:27 ; 2 Timothy 3:16

Author: Barnett Gushin
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Why Does God Allow Suffering

Suffering Character Object Lessons

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-07-04

Scripture: Romans 5:3 ; 4 :

Author: Maurice Sweetsur
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Glory Is Forever

Suffering God's Glory Perseverance

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-01-09

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 3:18

Author: Evel Knievel
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The Boy Who Feels No Pain

Blessings/Blessedness Thankfulness Suffering

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-11-05

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:16

Author: Illustration Exchange
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The End of Life Care Machine

Suffering Incarnation Empathy

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-10-03

Scripture: Hebrews 2:17

Author: Illustration Exchange
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