Author - Herbert Clayton
Luke 11 - 1 Peter 4
When I read Luke 11 and 1 Peter 4, three things come to mind: daily bread, suffering, and forgiveness.
First, notice how we are supposed to ask our Father for our “daily bread.” Why not ask for weekly bread, or monthly bread, or better yet, long-term 401k/retirement bread? I think most of us know the answer; we are supposed to trust the Father to provide everything, including our daily bread. I think this concept is sometimes hard for us because we live in a world system that encourages independence and promotes a “take care of yourself because no one else is gonna do it!” mentality. Some of us have attempted to live out this philosophy only to find it does not work in the long term.
Believe it or not, there are people around you who have learned to lean on the Good Lord…alone…for everything…because we were so broken that we couldn’t take care of ourselves or our families. Now, from a “stand-back-I-got-this” worldly perspective, admitting this seems shameful and/or weak. But sometimes God pushes some of us off our “pride ponies” into the dirt to humble us. Fortunately, our loving Father cares enough sometimes to allow us to suffer the consequences of our own foolishness. “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” (Heb 12:6)
Let’s be honest, no one likes suffering. My trusty Bible dictionary defines suffering as “agony, affliction, or distress; intense pain or sorrow [and] suffering has been part of the human experience since people fell into sin (Genesis 3).” If we accept this definition, then I think we can infer that we all suffer at times. Moreover, this fact is clearly visible in the real world we live in. So, I no longer believe the question is whether or not we will suffer, but do we suffer well?
Look at 1 Peter 4:15-16, “…let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.” It appears Paul has a similar view on suffering when he says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom 8:18). It seems to me our world system promotes the idea that no one should ever suffer, and if they do, it’s someone’s fault. Although no suffering would be nice, it doesn’t seem biblical. As we have seen in Luke 11, the Lord tells us to “forgive everyone who is indebted to us” or, if I may say, forgive people who cause us to suffer.
My Bible dictionary defines forgiveness as “the act of excusing or pardoning others in spite of their slights, shortcomings, and errors.” The topic of suffering and forgiveness is all throughout the New Testament and they appear to be linked. As we enter our times of suffering we must forgive, and I believe the only way we can truly forgive is by understanding how much we have been forgiven. Our Lord and the Apostles did not leave without giving us instructions concerning suffering and/or forgiveness. When we heed their commands, we are living like authentic followers of Christ.
Lord, teach us how to lean on, and trust you…daily. Please give us the strength to “suffer well” and to be able to give you greater glory during those times of suffering. Finally, and most important, Father remind us to forgive others as you have forgiven us. You are Sovereign, and nothing happens beyond your control.