In light of the horrific shooting in Roseburg Oregon, I found an interesting story of hope. It had to do with the Emergency Room staff that was handling the victims of the multiple medial traumas resulting from this terrible hate crime. These hard working doctors, nurses, and technicians received a unique gift of hope and encouragement. It came from a hospital in Louisiana and the gift that brought the hope was pizza. Yes, I said pizza! See this Louisiana hospital had received pizza from a hospital in Texas. That hospital in Texas had experienced a difficult gang shooting and wanted to encourage the hospital staff in Louisiana as they were dealing with the theater shooting back in July of this year. The Louisiana hospital staff were so inspired with the gesture they wanted to send on some pizza- encouragement to Oregon.
The pizza did more than provide a meal, it nourished their souls. One ER nurse took this gesture as a reminder that they were not alone and they would get through this ordeal. This nurse, as well as others, were surrendering to the hope in suffering. They chose to take in the full meaning of the gift and let that truth sooth the tension, stress, and frustration that difficult suffering situations bring. They could have thought nothing of it, even ignored it, vented frustrations that is was just pizza, or scoffed at the act. Maybe some did, but the ones who made the decision to surrender to the hope in this suffering were blessed.
That same choice hits each of us as we deal with our own times of suffering. Maybe we are suffering at work, with finances, in a marriage, in a relationship or not in a relationship and want to be, or suffering at school, with family, with sickness, with disabilities, with cancer, with ageing parents, with unruly kids or exasperating parents, with stress, or whatever you are suffering through, the choice is there to look for and surrender to the hope in your suffering.
One of the best places I have found hope is from God’s Word, the Bible. The Bible brings me to the truth in life and as I choose to believe in those truths, surrender to those truths, there is great hope and encouragement. One truth is that God is with us in our suffering.
Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
All over Scripture God is reminding us He is with us! I love this next Bible verse:
Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
When we go through the deep waters of emotional suffering, God is there.
When we go through the rushing current of change, stress, difficulty, suffering to hold on, God is there.
When we go through the trial and testing of life, suffering through the refining of character and practice, God is there. He will always be there!
Romans 8:38-39 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Wow, how great is that truth?! God is with us and He will guide, bring help, give comfort, and walk with us through our suffering. He may not take it away, but I do know He is there walking with us. Why not seek Him out.
Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek Me and find Me. When you seek Me with all your heart,
God greatly cares and loves us. He would love for you and Him to get close. Why not surrender to this hope and experience the great hope and encouragement of God. He may even have someone send you pizza to brighten your day…or maybe He is encouraging you to send pizza (or chocolate) to help someone else surrender to the hope in suffering?!?
If you would like to go deeper with this subject, we would like to invite you to join us this Sunday as we continue our current teaching series called “Surrender: An unexpected journey to thriving as a follower of Christ.” You can check out our website for more details, www.cypresschurch.net. We would love to have you stop by or listen in online.
Surrendering to the hope in suffering with you,