You’re Preaching to Yourself
I think the most powerful way to be a good soldier in your own suffering, to fight the temptations that every sufferer greets, is to be aware that you’re always preaching to yourself some kind of gospel.
It’s the gospel of God's absence, of his unfaithfulness, of his distance, of his lack of actual care, his weakness, or the gospel of his presence, his goodness, his love, his care. You need to become more self-conscious of the gospel that you preach to yourself.
Invite Others In
Secondly, invite people to interrupt your private conversation and to ask you what have you been thinking, what have you been saying to yourself?
You need to become more self-conscious of the gospel that you preach to yourself.
When I would despair in my suffering, my wife, Luella, would say to me, “You know that's not true.”
That was something that I needed. She was interrupting my conversation with myself and saying “Paul, you know better. This is not what you know is true.”
Maybe the best way to say it is your suffering is a community project. You even need people who will, at moments, preach to you what you need to hear and you in your moment of weakness are not able to preach to yourself.
Don’t Stop Praying
Pray, pray, pray, pray, pray without ceasing.
How about instead of going with those waves of doubt, those waves of fear, those waves of discouragement? When those waves come, begin to pray.
This may sound surprising to you in those moments, but pray prayers of thanksgiving. Think of everything, anything, you can possibly think of for which to be thankful.
How we respond to suffering shapes our experiences with suffering.
Our expectation is that tomorrow will be just the same as today was, but this world is not operating the way that God intended for it to operate.
In this five-day video devotional learn how to trust God more deeply—even through circumstances you wouldn’t choose for yourself.