“…it’s no use trying to measure suffering. What matters is making the right use of it, taking advantage of the sense of helplessness it brings to turn one’s thoughts to God. Trust is the lesson. Jesus loves me, this I know – not because He does just what I’d like, but because the Bible tells me so. Calvary proves it. He loved me and gave Himself for me.”
– Elisabeth Elliot
Two of my good friends went through a pretty rough year in 2013. They both went through separate events that were pretty scary and by God’s grace they’re alive and well! I was able to talk to both of them recently and they both told me something that I was not what I was expecting. They were thankful for the suffering they went through. They were thankful because their eyes were opened to things they hadn’t realized before. They knew that if God had kept them from these trials, they would never have realized crucial things that allowed them to grow spiritually.
I’ve heard a lot of people who question God because of their suffering. They wonder if there is even a God when good people suffer. These questions are hard to answer, especially when some people have gone through more than I can even imagine – in just a lifetime. But suffering, no matter how big or small, will be a part of every single person’s life. Suffering may be physical or emotional – and can come in various ways.
One thing is sure: there is always purpose in suffering. If there is a purpose, then when suffering comes our way, we are to find that purpose. Finding that purpose means we are at the feet of Jesus in the midst of the trial we face. The second our eyes are off of Christ during storm, we will sink into despair and bitterness, instead of growing in our faith. Trust God will bring you through whatever it is you’re going through and while you’re going through this storm, don’t let anger have a hold on your heart, don’t allow fear to be the reason you make rash decisions, don’t let anxiety weigh you down and prevent you from enjoying the life you have left on this earth – always put your hope in God
It’s easy for me to stay this and for you to read the words that I write, but finding the purpose requires action on our part.
Sometimes, the “action” you take in finding what God is teaching you may not be physically seen by others around you. Taking action may be something as simple as memorizing Scripture that attacks the doubt that keeps entering your mind while you go through a tough time.
Sometimes, the “action” you must take is through your words. When others tell you that there is no hope in the midst of your situation and to give up, you may have to open your mouth and respond that they aren’t quite right, there is always hope left when you’re a child of God.
Sometimes, the “action” you take is through your…well, actions. When you’re going through a rough time, you may have to respond with grace and love to those around you who aren’t kind to you in your suffering. That may mean helping someone out even if it’s not in your well planned out schedule for the day or taking the time out to ask if how someone is doing, even if they seem to act like they don’t care at all about you.
Responding to suffering the right way will help you find the purpose and allow you to grow to be more like Christ.