PRAISING GOD AT ALL TIMES        Jer 20:10-13

Both in the Old and New Testaments we find the exhortation to praise God at all times. In the reading from the Prophet Jeremiah for Today we discover first that his enemies are attacking him from every side and then he is exhorting us to give thanks and praise God. Either he is crazy or he has discovered a truth that defies worldly wisdom. This often happens with the Word of God – there is a wisdom contained within it that we will never discover in the world or without the help of revelation.

The basis behind the truth of Jeremiahs exhortation to us is that Jesus is Lord of all Creation and thus whether we are being persecuted or enjoying our lives, He is still the Lord and for that reason alone we should be praising him. Furthermore, through the Scriptures we learn that God is with us even through our difficulties and struggles. In his Passion, Jesus identifies with all human suffering and gives it redemptive meaning and power if we are willing to choose to unite our suffering with his suffering.

This is why in 1Peter 3 we will be told that it is better to suffer for doing good than for doing wrong! Such suffering has great redemptive value as it more closely imitates the suffering of Jesus in his Passion – a suffering he did nothing to deserve. Suffering is always a somewhat vexed issue for discussion particularly in a non-Christian context. People cannot understand easily how good can come from suffering. With faith it is so much easier to understand this truth as we are able to see more fully how the mercy and wisdom of God work in our lives.

This is not to say that suffering is ever good in itself, it is not! We should always be seeking ways to reduce the level of suffering in the world. However, in faith we believe that God in his great power and mercy is able to bring good even out of something as terrible as suffering.

What is my attitude to suffering? How can I improve the way I suffer for the sake of the Kingdom of God?

Jesus, you willingly suffered and died that my and all peoples’ sins would be forgiven. Thank you for this act of loving mercy. Help me to grow in gratitude daily so that I might be willing to undertake suffering for the sake of others.