Suffering Sunday with Joel WildbergerWritten by Johnathan Newman
Why have a Suffering Sunday? We’re doing it at Koinos because there’s a ton of suffering in this world and many people struggle find their way through it without losing hope. We’re doing it because there are some huge things about God’s grace He wants us to learn in our suffering.
1 Peter 4:12-16 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you,
which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were
happening to you…
Our hearts will be encouraged by hearing Joel Wildberger’s personal story of God’s grace shown to him in the suffering he has faced. Looking at Joel, a tech-savvy, athletic 25-year-old who loves getting up in the air on a wakeboard, you would never know that he suffers daily with life-altering pain. He has multiple sclerosis. Medications can help but there’s no medical cure. Few people will ever know the kind of pain he feels routinely.
You could say Joel’s life has forever been changed by MS. But he has a totally different explanation. In his words, faith in Jesus “grabbed ahold” of him and God’s grace has forever changed his life in spite of his suffering. He has seen depths of God’s love for him because of the pain which he had never known before his pain.
How can you “count it all joy” when suffering comes like the Bible says? How can your suffering be turned into an opportunity to minister to others? Our loving, heavenly Father chooses to lavish His grace on us in such a way that our hearts don’t grow cold and bitter but rather more and more loving toward Him and others. Only God can do this. And He does do this.
Joel and his wife of eleven months, Katherine Ann, are seeing God’s tender mercies poured out on them daily sustaining them, keeping them from falling, teaching them to pray. All of us need to be strengthened by this.
This weekend the Koinos family will get to spend time with this awesome couple. Joel is a seminary student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY and Katherine Ann is a wedding cinematographer, both with awesome southern accents from Mobile, Alabama.
We hope you will share this opportunity with your friends, especially those who are suffering.
I am a pastor, preacher of the gospel, husband of a wonderful wife, Jeni, and father of 3 awesome kids. I love running, hunting, fishing, camping, and coaching baseball.
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