Suffering is something no one can escape. It's a part of living, it's a part of loving, it's a part of being human. We can avoid it at all cost but there is no life without both physical and emotional suffering.
One command in the Bible that has always been hard to understand is the command to rejoice in the midst of suffering. That is literally the opposite of our natural response while suffering. Suffering calls us to hurt, grumble, struggle, or give up; it's a negative thing.
However, in John 16:33 Jesus says, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
His brother James also says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds..." James 1:2
And the Apostle Paul writes:
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Paul says we rejoice (glory) because we know…. But what do we know?
God permits suffering not to drive us from Him, but to draw us to Him.
This is what we know!
Though at times our trials threaten to undo us, there is good reason to rejoice.
Rejoicing in suffering leads to patient endurance (perseverance). Perseverance shapes our character. And our character deepens our hope and creates a longing in us for its realization.
It gives us a hunger and thirst for God, His help, His wholeness, and His promises.
Through suffering we come to know God more intimately and we long to be with Him more sincerely.
Suffering is not at all what you want for us, but it's a consequence of living in an imperfect world.
Help me to see you in the midst of pain.
Help me to feel your love when I am broken hearted.
Help me seek you earnestly when grief and anguish takes over.
Thank you for turning my suffering and my pain into the growth of my faith and a greater realization that I need more and more of you in my life.
I have also grown to understand that we should rejoice in our suffering because it causes us to long for heaven where, ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes.There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4
1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord