Suffering Is Normal & Brings Reward

November 2, 2013

Friends,
So often while I’m in conversations, people express to me that they feel their trials are similar to that of Job’s, or they say they believe God is sending them through exceptional testing. However, as much as they seem to feel that their hardships are unparalleled, and in spite of the fact that their problems truly are awful, suffering is a part of life for almost every human being. If it’s not a personal affliction, then it’s someone we know and love going through it, and so it’s almost as bad, and sometimes even worse, than having to go through it ourselves. For example, it is a rare parent who would not give up their own well-being to be spared having to watch their child go through terrible suffering.

But, as bad as suffering is from an earthly viewpoint, it offers much reward. For suffering does humble the proud and lead them to Christ. It does produce empathy, holiness, Christ-likeness, and strength of character. It does make weaklings into warriors. Through suffering we learn to listen more intently to what the Lord is trying to teach us. And we learn that immediate obedience is beneficial!

We are to consider it pure joy whenever we go through trials (Ja. 1:2), because we know that the testing of our faith develops perseverance. (v. 3) When perseverance concludes its work in us, then we have become mature, complete, finished, polished, trained, prepared, competent, useful, and equipped for every good task. (v. 4 // 2 Tim. 2:15 & 3:16,17) To be thus qualified, and to be viewed by the Lord as a crown of splendor in His hand (Isa. 62:3), –well, what servant of Christ’s would not then rejoice in difficulties and persecutions? Sure, the heartbreaks themselves can grieve or distress us, but the results are what we keep our spiritual eyes set on. (Heb. 12:10,11 // 1 Peter 4:12-14) For we walk by faith, not by sight or feelings. (2 Cor. 5:7)

We have been called to suffer. (1 Peter 2:21) If we aren’t suffering, we are likely not being trained. And if we’re not being trained –having our faith tested and proved genuine– then we are not a child of God’s. (Heb. 12:8) For God trains, tests, and disciplines all whom He accepts as His children. (v. 5-7) Therefore by submitting to Him, we reap Life! (v. 9)

People should not think suffering is something unique to them. Such thinking only inflicts more negative emotions. Instead, we should all realize that adversity and pain is part of being in a fallen world, that God uses it to bring about good, and that by being grateful for the numerous blessings we do have, trouble’s inflictions of misery are so minimized that they do not compare to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus, our Savior and Lord.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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