by Kimberley Pfeiffer
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‘But we are not among those who shrink back and so are lost, but among those who have faith and so are saved’ (Hebrews 10:39).
Is something causing you grief, or are you struggling in some way, physically, mentally, or emotionally? Are you in a battle right now? Can the people around you see it? Or is it a spiritual battle that you are hiding from those you know and love? Spiritual battles are as real as any physical battle. The torments of the mind can eat away at our souls just as much as any physical battle with cancer can waste away our bodies.
Just because you’re a Christian doesn’t mean life is going to be easy. It’s a hard lesson that we all have to go through. For me, I think that in some ways, it seems that life is more difficult as a Christian. It’s as though we have been ‘woken up’ and can see the depths of endless suffering we face as broken people living in a broken world.
It takes courage and confidence to put our trust in our Lord, especially when we are suffering. Sometimes despair wants to take us down its spiral. But we are reminded today that suffering is our training, and our faith in Christ brings a great reward.
As Christians, we have a wonderful resource in Christ to endure suffering. For Lutherans, we call it ‘cross theology’. It is at the cross-point where God breaks into our lives. The weakness of our own cross is like a tear in the curtain through which Christ enters. In the battles we face, we have his name to call on. He comes to fight for us, through us, and with his spiritual army, the church. Oh, the battles the church has fought with prayer – its greatest weapon!
When we are suffering, it is hard to remember the battle has already been won for us by Christ on the cross. Faith teaches us to remember this so that in our suffering, we can rest and pray, rather than clench our fists, get angry, and prepare to fight. We call on the name of our Lord, who hears us and strengthens our spirit. As we do, we learn his plan, his fight, his victory, and his joy.
Dear Heavenly Father, have mercy on us when we struggle in the battles of life. Send your Son, our Lord Jesus, into our battleground to strengthen us and restore our souls. By your Son, and because of his precious blood, hear the prayers of your church as we bring the needs of the world to your feet. Lord, in your mercy, Amen.