St. Paul's Lutheran Church

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Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me comfort in my sorrow and assurance in my suffering, for I know that all true Christians of all time have suffered similarly. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Scripture: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.  And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” – 1 Peter 5:8-10

For all who suffer for the faith, this passage is comforting indeed. St. Peter learned by his own trials and by the Holy Spirit the great comfort and assurance that comes from the Lord in times of adversity. One example is when Peter denied his Lord three times while in the temple courts, and afterword, full of angst and despair, would have followed Judas to the rope had it not been for Christ who turned and looked upon him. This is why Christ Jesus, shortly after His resurrection, announced peace and glad tidings to the 11, foremost being Peter.

Weak Christians suffer much because they are often plagued and surrounded by the devil. Teenagers and young adults, many of whom are young in the faith, are often tormented by temptation after temptation and should they fall, the devil harasses them all the more with accusation in hopes they will walk away altogether (rather than run to the church for absolution and strength). Sadly…many of them do walk away, especially when they start college. Further, those with authority in the church tend to be tempted and tormented by Satan more severely than any. Some suffer so much from the devil’s attacks — most could not understand how they suffer — but the Lord’s comfort and assurance prevails in them all the more.

But you must be careful to remember that whatever suffering you might face — be it from the devil’s torments or from a failing body or from temptation itself — it is not unique to you, but all Christians alike have suffered as the devil tries to draw us all from the fear of and confidence in God to unbelief, contempt, hatred, and blasphemy against God. This is what the devil does and what he wants.

But amidst such horrible suffering, hear the words of St. Peter. You are not the only one who suffers. You are not the first, nor the only one, and certainly not the last, to be assailed by Satan. The cross which you are called to bear by your Lord is not meant to be a wonderful and joyous burden. It is often heavy, but the Lord is with you bearing it with you, and all Christians who have suffered, they suffer along with you. Satan’s attacks are inflicted upon all Christians across all the world and throughout all time.

You do not suffer alone; you suffer with a great multitude, and you suffer as Christ, and thus your suffering will most certainly, without question, absolutely end in eternal glory!