Suffering Christians Encouragement for those who are hurting


Comfort In Knowing Others Are Suffering Too

That's a strange sounding subject line.

I suffer from very bad dreams every night. I used to have night terrors every night which are beyond description if you haven't had them. An antidepressant has helped just enough so that I don't wake up with my heart pounding out of my chest.

I have tried everything physically, medically (medications, sleep study that God provided the means for etc.), dietary (almost), psychological, spiritual (I still pray about them every night as long as I remember to) and they still persist every night. I had never met anyone with quite this problem or even read about anyone online.

I was reading a message board on fibromyalgia that I frequent and someone explained their sleep and dream life and how it affects them everyday. It was my exact story. Then a whole page of people said it was their story too! I knew that fibromyalgia (somewhat synonymous with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which I can't be sure is an official diagnosis for me because of other conditions, but it's probable) causes bad sleep but I didn't know that so many had it this bad.

Somehow this is comforting. Partly because I know there may be a cause, even though nobody really knows much about fibro, and partly because I know I'm not being beat up in an unusual way.

The Bible comforts us in this way too. After reading that message board I immediately thought of 1 Peter 5:8-9: "Be sober! Be on the alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. 9 Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your brothers in the world." (HCSB)

As far as resisting Satan, I found Thomas Shreiner's comments in his commentary on 1 Peter pertaining to these verses helpful:

[R]esisting the devil means that believers remain firm in their faith, that is, in their trust in God. Believers triumph over the devil as they continue to trust God, believing that he truly cares for them and will sustain them until the end. Perseverance until the last day is accomplished from first to last by faith.

--Thomas Schreiner, 1,2 Peter, Jude NAC, pg 243

James 4:7-8a HCSB
Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.

I know that the context of the audience of 1 Peter was mainly persecution but I think it would apply to all suffering.

These things don't make my dreams any better but they do provide some comfort and I can know that I'm not being 'singled out' in a unique way and that God will grow me stronger because of it.

I can just imagine all the things that so many people are going through and feel completely alone whether it's something major or a nagging problem that someone can't seem to get rid of. This may be comforting and also encourage people to find others with similar problems.

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