But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
This week has been one of those weeks that I have asked the question, “Why?” My back pain has flared up and it is difficult to do anything. When things hurt it is easy to complain and ask why.
Suffering, in many ways, remains a mystery, one that we will never fully understand this side of eternity. Today as I prayed to God and searched His word He gave me some simple truths. I hope they are helpful when you are suffering from some pain or situation that is before you.
Suffering produces intimacy with God (Job 42:5).
Job, who endured unspeakable suffering, said, "My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you."
Intimacy with God is often borne in the furnace of affliction.
"There's an opening of the soul that happens during times of stress or duress," says Dr. Hager. "During times of suffering, we experience God at a deep, profound level."
Suffering equips us to comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
Suffering gives us compassion for others who are hurting, enabling us to minister more effectively.
"Sufferers want to be ministered to by people who have suffered.
"People who suffer want people who have suffered to tell them there is hope. They are justifiably suspicious of people who appear to have lived lives of ease." Those who have suffered make the most effective comforters.
Suffering refines us. (Isaiah 48:10)
I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction."
The meaning of this verse makes it clear that pain and suffering have a way of bringing our strengths and weaknesses to the surface. When the dross floats to the surface, God skims it off; he purifies and refines us to be the radiant bride of Christ.
Suffering produces growth and maturity (James 1:2-4).
If we turn toward God in our pain, He can use our suffering to mature our faith. We see this biblical truth illustrated through the persecuted church. After hearing their testimonies, few would deny that suffering produces beauty and maturity of spirit.
Suffering conforms us into God's image (Romans 8:28-29).
We may be tempted to read these verses to say that God will bring good out of everything. While He can and does redeem pain in our lives, these verses speak of being conformed to God's image through our suffering.
"If we are willing to sit still and let God work, we will find ourselves being transformed into the image of Jesus.
Simply put, when we seek God through His Word and prayer, we find Jesus. Remember, Jesus understands our pain because he, too, suffered.
Dear Lord, we come before You knowing that You faced suffering. We pray that as we go through the times of pain and suffering that we would use them to draw closer to You and to become more of the person that You want us to be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.