This week I spoke to the women at my church on Philippians 1:12-30, which addresses the topic of joy amidst suffering. This is a really tough topic to handle, not only because it’s so fraught with emotion but because it is so frequently mishandled. There’s a lot of really bad theology out there on the topic of suffering, so I did my best to reflect a Scriptural understanding of it.
In particular, Paul’s experience reminds us that suffering can either be purposeful, or purposeless. You can either run from your suffering and shield yourself from it, learning nothing and gaining nothing in the mean time. Or, you can make your suffering purposeful, making it your servant and using it for the glory of God and benefit of others.
However the choice is yours.
For more on what it means to endure your suffering in a purposeful way, you can listen to my lesson below:[audio:https://sheworships.com/media/Philippians_Study_3.mp3]
Finally, there are two resources that I didn’t have time to use in my lesson, so I thought I would post them here. First, if you have not already checked out Matt Chandler’s blog, do so. Matt, a pastor in Texas, is currently battling brain cancer. His approach and his attitude about this trial are a modern day example of Paul’s words lived out. Though his burden is heavy, Matt openly rejoices that God has counted him worthy to suffer for His name. I promise you will be challenged and inspired by his testimony.
You can view Matt’s video updates at Matt’s blog.
The second resource I would like to recommend to you is a video produced by Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Last year Pastor Mark Driscoll preached on this topic (a sermon I would also highly recommend) and he concluded his sermon with the following video about the life of Charlotte Elliott, the women who penned the now famous song “Just As I Am.”