With the exception of the Psalms, no book has brought me more comfort in the midst of pain of all sorts than the first epistle of Peter. In this book is the go-to verse for “what to do when you don’t know what to do”:
I Peter 5:7. Casting all your care upon him for he careth for you.
I found I Peter 2:15, 19-20 particularly helpful during one bleak period in my life, when I was suffering disappointment in people I had admired and believed in. The details are not necessary and would do none of us any good to repeat. I am sure you could point to a similar sort of disillusionment in your own life.
Here are the verses I clung to:
For so is the will of God, that with well doing, ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:  For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.  For what glory is it, if when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
Turn to chapter 3 and you will find:
 For it is better if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
Follow those verses with chapter 5, move past verse 7 quoted above and you will reach the subject of our Sunday visits in October:
I Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
And this is why I’ve called this particular series “S’s in Order.”
Because after suffering (and there is no determining when any given painful circumstance will end), will come the “stablishing,” (poetic for “establish”) strengthening, and settling.
We will discuss each of these terms…as the title says… “In Order.”
We begin with the main word—
Suffer: to endure pain or distress, injury, loss, disadvantage, disability, penalty.
With the act of living comes “suffering,” in all intensities, severities, and extremities.
The little baby you love will cry and you scoop her up, because you don’t want her to know the suffering of loneliness.
The child you love loses a teddy bear, and you scour the house, because he is suffering from the loss of his friend and comfort.
The teenager you love loses her first love and you suffer along with her, because you remember so well how that feels.
You may have suffered the loss of a loved one, a time of economic hardship, an illness, or a broken relationship.
Suffering comes in all forms, and no matter how severe, is real to us and “hits us where it hurts,” leaving us scarred either physically, emotionally, spiritually, or mentally.
Just as “puppy love is real to the puppy,” suffering is real to the one experiencing it, no matter what the source or cause of the suffering is.
And whether it is a disappointment over a failed meal and the ruin of a special occasion, the breakdown of a car or damage to a home, or, a broken relationship, or disappointment and disillusionment in a person or an organization precious to you, suffering is hard to bear and becomes harder to bear when there is no end in sight.
Sometimes sudden miraculous intervention on the part of our Heavenly Father ends the suffering, and we rejoice to tell our story.
Sometimes we must go on for years, leaning on Him, claiming His promises, seeking help from trusted friends, looking through the darkness, to try to find the light.
Here are some suggestions for you, if today, you are suffering. It matters not what kind of suffering it is.
Jesus walked this way before you.
I Peter 2:21. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.
Can our sufferings in any way be compared to His? No.
But He does know what it feels like to walk this earth and face trials resulting from being human.
Therefore, “we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15
When you come to Him in your sorrow—no matter what it is—His ear is open to your prayer.
Jesus walks this way with you.
Job 23: 10. But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
Psalm 23: 3. …he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Psalm 100: 3 …we are His people.
Matthew 28: 20. …lo, I am with you always.
Next week: after suffering, comes a return of being and feeling “established.”