Each time we experience trials, hardships, or unmet expectations, we suffer the loss of something—whether it is the loss of a close friend or family member, loss of a job, security, freedom, or something else. Most of us react in a series of denial, anger, depression, bargaining, and acceptance (better known as the Five Stages of Grief). While going through these stages is normal and healthy, we might also think about how we might react during difficult times by giving to others. How can we show love to others during our suffering? It might sound strange that I’m suggesting you serve and love others when you are going through hardships, but that is what the Bible tells us to do in 1 Peter.
1 Peter 4:7-11
7 The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. 8 Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.
10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 11 Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen. (emphasis mine)
Don’t let your suffering become an excuse to hide from others or focus only on yourself. Remember, everyone is suffering from something. You may be in the unique position to offer comfort to another person, or just a listening ear. Your experience may lead to sharing advice or giving direction to someone going through a similar ordeal. Serving one another does not have to mean physical labor or menial tasks. It is simply easing one another’s burdens. What opportunities do you have to serve and love others?
When has someone else served and loved you while going through a difficult time themselves? What did that person do for you?
Based on 1 Peter 4:10, think of one way you can use your spiritual gifts to help someone this week. If you don’t know what your spiritual gifts are, week three of GrowthTrack includes a spiritual gifts assessment.
Dear God, thank you for caring about us and loving us through the pain and hardships we endure. Although we don’t always understand why we have to suffer, help us focus on who we can love and serve through our suffering. Thank you for blessing us with unique spiritual gifts. Show us ways to use those gifts to honor you. Amen.
This post was written by Kaye Althaus. Kaye is honored to be a member of the LivingItOut writing team. In her spare time, she loves to read and do crafts with friends. She and her husband live in the quiet country and raise chickens.
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