Life Beyond Suffering

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11 April, 2021Pastor Mark SchultzLife Pulse

We were not created to live stagnant lives. To be stuck, bound or broken. We were created with a pulse, to be fully alive with a single-minded purpose, a holy calling, a clear mandate and an explicit mission. Even in times that are uncertain, chaotic or incomprehensible, this calling remains. That’s relatively easy when life is good, but what happens when suffering hits, or circumstances cause our heart rate to elevate, our anxiety levels to go through the roof, and we can no longer cope with the stress and distress that confront us?  Jesus has some encouraging words for his disciples that not only redefines their circumstance and renews their strength, but reorients their hearts to a joy that is always life-giving and always life sustaining. It doesn’t take away the suffering, the pain or the anxiety, but it gives a framework that enables us to respond to suffering wth joy, embrace hardship with hope and overcome all things in the strength of the risen Christ. We’ll explore and experience that today as we embrace life beyond suffering.

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John 16:20-33

20 Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. 23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

25 “Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”

29 Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. 30 Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.”

31 “Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. 32 “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Jesus says, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33b

Christ takes the very thing which causes us heartache and sorrow, and turns it into a cause of joy. Resurrection is an ongoing gift that continually transforms our everyday living and give us unimaginable life beyond suffering.

  1. What's the worst suffering you have experienced in your life?
  2. What gives you hope to continue on in difficult times?
  3. What's one take away you received from today's sermon that you will apply to your life over the next week?

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