“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” -James 1:2-3

Jesus shows us what God is like. Orthodox theology says that “all good things come from God.” Jesus doesn’t go around harming people to teach them a lesson–that when they clean up their act he’ll fix things. Anytime a sick, broken, and suffering sinner comes to Jesus–he heals them. He doesn’t reject them, he heals even in the midst of suffering. Jesus loves healing people, he loves loving people, and he loves redeeming people. Not once in scripture does Jesus curse someone to make them worse. Jesus redeems people: not only to save them, but to save those who are watching. Although following Jesus means you’ll have to suffer for Christ, that you’ll have to take up your cross and follow him, Jesus won’t make you suffer. He’ll turn your suffering into joy. When you suffer, when you hurt, when you have pain: there is a promise in the pain–a big promise–that something better than your pain is coming through. There’s a purpose greater than your pain, a purpose greater than your suffering. Advent–Adventure–a great story is coming. Keep hope alive. Good things are coming, friends.

Dear Lord, thank you for Jesus. Thank you for a powerful healer who turns our suffering into joy. Who teaches us through the pain, and promises a better future.

REFLECTION: Do you remember a time in which God used your suffering for growth? Think about how you felt in that season and how God delivered you from it. Or maybe you’re currently living that difficult season. Stay hopeful, God will restore you.

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