Summary: The conquest of Christ in the face of suffering encourages us in the face of our suffering.
In nineteenth century Scotland there lived a man with an amazing amount of promise and potential. Everyone around him readily agreed the young man was destined for greatness. Everything seemed to be going well for him and the sky seemed to be the limit for this promising young man gifted for greatness. While engaged to be married, he was suddenly hospitalized. It was discovered this young man full of promise and potential was suffering from a degenerative eye disease which would eventually leave him blind. Consequently his fiancée broke their engagement and in so doing broke the young man’s heart. His world seemed shattered. His storm was not the result of poor life choices or past indiscretions. There was no explanation for the howling winds and the torrential rains that bombarded the shore of his soul. Yet within a period of five minutes, George Matheson, blind and broken, chose to lift His heart above the storm to the One who rules and reigns above the storms. The comfort he found in the arms of the loving Father led him to pen these words of comfort and hope:
O love that will not let me go
I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
O joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to Thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be.
“I trace the rainbow through the rain.” From the depths of despair, George Matheson traced the rainbow of God’s grace through the rain of personal pain.
All of us experience storms in life. Some of those storms we understand. When we suffer pain because of poor personal choices we at least know the wounds are self-inflicted. We brought the suffering on ourselves. But what do we do when we suffer for doing what is right? We do the right things for the right reasons and as a result of our seeking to honor God we get hammered. The winds blow, the rains fall, and everything in our lives that is not nailed down seems to fly away.
The first epistle of Peter was written to men and women trying desperately to trace the rainbow of God’s grace through the rain of their personal adversity. These believers were not suffering from poor choices or past indiscretions; they were suffering for their faith in Jesus Christ. The rain was falling, the winds were howling, and these precious saints of God needed to know how to trace the rainbow through the rain. Where could they find hope in the midst of suffering? Peter reminds them, and he reminds us, hope is found in the One who suffered for us. Twelve times in this epistle Peter refers to the suffering of Christ. You and I can find hope in the face of suffering by keeping our eyes focused on the One who suffered for us. The conquest of Christ in the face of suffering encourages us in the face of our suffering.
I encourage you to open God’s Word to the third chapter of First Peter as we seek to find encouragement in the face of suffering. How can you trace the rainbow through the inevitable rain of life? We find hope in the midst of suffering by looking to the One who suffered for us. The conquest of Christ’s suffering encourages us in our suffering.