topics worth the tussle #7: suffering well

“Topics Worth the Tussle” is a series of themes students (or leaders) may need to wrestle with inside your ministry. They’re not always popular, but that’s one reason they’re all the more needed.

And today’s topic is especially important as students head into the summer.

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (II Tim. 3:12 ESV)

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? … No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Heb. 12:7,11 NIV2011)

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4 ESV)

Then Satan answered the LORD, “Does Job fear God for nothing? …  But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.” (Job 1:9,11 NASB)

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. (Rom. 12:15 NKJV)

Is your college ministry full of people who know how to suffer well? Have they come to recognize the amazing value suffering has in their lives and in the lives of those around them? Do they even – though through tears – welcome suffering, chalking it up (“reckoning”) it pure joy because of what God produces in it and through it?

Do your students recognize that cleansing, strengthening, glorifying suffering doesn’t only come in cancer diagnoses or deaths or earthquakes, but also when “I so wish that girl was interested in me,” “I wasn’t picked for that leadership position,” “My roommate and I aren’t getting along”?

Has God “shown off” in the midst of suffering within your college ministry, as He did with Job?

And do your students – unlike Job’s friends – know how to “weep with those who weep”? Do they suffer with others well?

This is a topic that may very well be worth the tussle in your ministry – or at least in your mind, as the leader of your campus ministry.

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