Advent is nearly upon us. It is the time of year where we emphasize the incarnation of Jesus as the dawn of his Kingdom brings hope to the earth. His arrival is a reminder that our God has not abandoned us. And yet, for many, the sufferings of this life may be clouding our joy. Can we sing amidst suffering? Can we sing when it seems the God of our circumstances has turned our circumstances against us? Yes we can because God’s goodness in our suffering uses suffering to purify our hopes. As 1 Peter reminds us: “These [trials] have come so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7).
Why can we hope in suffering? Because through suffering we are obtaining a reward greater than any material blessing we are presently losing. And what’s the reason such reward is coming to us? Because God “has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). So even though outwardly we are perishing, our hope is living and thriving. Though we suffer through the night, we know joy is in the morning. And with the coming of the Advent season, we are reminded that hope is here because Jesus came as a baby. He came as an infant and walked and suffered just like each and everyone of us and endured until the end (Hebrews 4:15). He went before us to secure our hope. So now, in our sufferings, let us hope because death could not hold him (Acts 2:24) and it will not hold us because we are in him.
Ponder the work of God in suffering through this song/sermon by Shane & Shane (w/John Piper)