(From the sermons entitled, “Ang Kasalukuyang Kahapisan at ang Kinalaman nito sa Ilang Kapatid sa Pananampalataya” and “Ang mga Kapatid na Tiyak na Makakabangon sa Kanilang Pagkakabuwal,” for dates July 25 and 28, 2013.)
Can we avoid the sufferings of this life?
Why do we need to experience such sufferings?
Why did God allow sufferings in our lives?
Do we need to blame God for these sufferings?
What are the true purpose of these sufferings that we experience?
In all the distress and sufferings that we experience, we know that God wants us to send a strong message. He wants to talk to us through these sufferings, that we need to do something, and that we need to change something in our lives, that we need to overcome and be victorious.
Do we really need to experience these sufferings and distress? Yes! If there are no sufferings, then there is no victory. Sufferings are inescapable.
The Bible prophesied that it would come to us, and in the end days, the great tribulations will come. (Luke 21:23; Zephaniah 1:14-16).
One thing that we need to do when distress comes, and that is, not to panic, instead, we need to have a clear vision on what is happening and learn the purpose of such anguish, so we can face it no matter what it is.
Apostle Paul says, “Considering the present distress, I think it is better for a man to stay as he is.” (1 Corinthians 7:26)
Paul advised that we should consider the present sufferings in making decisions that will surely reflect our future. He is suggesting that if the present suffering were big, it would be greater in the future. He wants us avoid such sufferings.
He advised that servants should stay as they are. “Do you have a wife? Then don’t try to get rid of her. Are you unmarried? Then don’t look for a wife. But if you do marry, you haven’t committed a sin; and if an unmarried woman marries, she hasn’t committed a sin. But I would rather spare you the everyday troubles that married people will have. What I mean, my friends, is this: there is not much time left, and from now on married people should live as though they were not married; (1 Corinthians 7:27-29) “Now, to the unmarried and to the widows I say that it would be better for you to continue to live alone as I do.” (1 Corinthians 7:8)
Why did Apostle Paul say this in his letter?
He wants to save the brethren from the distress of having someone in life, instead of serving God singly. He thinks that it is more comfortable to serve God when a faithful is single rather than married. “I am saying this because I want to help you. I am not trying to put restrictions on you. Instead, I want you to do what is right and proper, and to give yourselves completely to the Lord’s service without any reservation.”(1 Corinthians 7:35)
In his letter, he is not encouraging the married servants to divorce their partners. Marriage is a holy covenant and all who are under this pact have to comply while they live. They will only be free if their partner dies.
“… To the others I say (I, myself, not the Lord): if a Christian man has a wife who is an unbeliever and she agrees to go on living with him, he must not divorce her. And if a Christian woman is married to a man who is an unbeliever and he agrees to go on living with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made acceptable to God by being united to his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made acceptable to God by being united to her Christian husband. If this were not so, their children would be like pagan children; but as it is, they are acceptable to God. However, if the one who is not a believer wishes to leave the Christian partner, let it be so. In such cases the Christian partner, whether husband or wife, is free to act. God has called you to live in peace. 2(1 Corinthians 7:12-15)
When it comes to serving the Lord, indeed, according to Apostle Paul, singles can better serve the Him. “I would like you to be free from worry. An unmarried man concerns himself with the Lord’s work, because he is trying to please the Lord. But a married man concerns himself with worldly matters, because he wants to please his wife; and so he is pulled in two directions. An unmarried woman or a virgin concerns herself with the Lord’s work, because she wants to be dedicated both in body and spirit; but a married woman concerns herself with worldly matters, because she wants to please her husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:32-34)
Paul tells us that these are only his advises and not a command from God. It is up to us if we want to comply or not. The important thing is that we think on the present situation, because later on, it will dictate the possible distress that we will experience.
Moreover, Paul tells, “So it’s fine for a father to give his daughter in marriage, but the father who doesn’t give his daughter in marriage does even better.” (1 Corinthians 7:36-38)
Whatever decision we have made in the past, we can no longer change it. Additionally, it is not right that we regret all of it, especially when we decided to get married. Marriage can give many amazing and beautiful things to us.
Especially, when you have a partner who guides and helps you in many ways, like taking care of the children, taking care of the family, helping us in the financial aspect and most of all a partner in serving the Lord God.
If the singles would marry now, they should choose a partner that has fear of God, a partner that is faithful and the kind of partner that would help us grow in our relationship with God.
A faithful partner will help us stand again if we stumble especially in times of distress. We stumble in many things according to the Bible (James 3:2). These obstacles either serve as a test to some, but becomes a judgment to others.
How did the Bible explain these hindrances?
Jesus says, “Situations that cause people to lose their faith are certain to arise. But how horrible it will be for the person who causes someone to lose his faith!” (Luke 17:1) These things that make us fall are unavoidable in serving the Lord. There will always be reasons for failures, for weaknesses and for stumbling. That’s why we need to prepare for these things, study them, face them and conquer them.
Remember that those who usually fall are like trees without roots. Jesus tells us, “Since he doesn’t have any root, he lasts only a little while. When suffering or persecution comes along because of the word, he immediately falls from faith.” (Matthew 13:21)
Those who are weak and sick commonly fall. (1 Corinthians 11:30)
Who can surely stand up when they fall?
The Bible guarantees that those who are righteous can stand up no matter how many times they fall. “A righteous person may fall seven times, but he gets up again. However, in a disaster wicked people fall.” (Proverbs 24:16)
These righteous servants live by faith (Hebrews 10:38), and by following the will and commands of God. They firmly hold on to the teachings of Christ, hence, they will rise up when they fall. They will fall but will not stay down, because the Lord will help them up (Psalms 37:24).
Who can never rise up again?
The Bible assures then, that those who are wicked will fall and shall never rise up again (Psalms 36:12). Those who have experienced God’s light, tasted the gift of heaven, and received the gift of the Holy Spirit, but after that abandoned their faith, it would be impossible for them to come back and repent again. (Hebrews 6:4-6)
A soil that usually watered by rain will be fruitful, because they receive blessings from God, but if they bear thorns and weeds, God curses them and their end will be disastrous. (Hebrews 6:4-6)
May this topic serves as a warning to all of us and may it push us to hold on firmly to the teachings we received, for it will give us life, and will save us from the eternal damnation. (Hebrews 2:1-3)