Hope Discovery of the Day:
Suffering we encounter in this life is used by a sovereign God for purposes that a painless life could not achieve.
Scripture of the Day:
Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. 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.”
I need this post today. I know. I am writing it. But sometimes necessity is the mother of invention. I did something to my neck over a week ago and the pain is getting my attention. Another opportunity. An opportunity to face suffering with faith and see what God will do.
Being real, suffering is not fun. But there is a mystery in suffering we might not appreciate on the surface. The secret of suffering is found only by those willing to go deeper than the surface level of pain.
Perspective: Suffering is an invitation.
Ok, most of us would probably rather decline an invitation to suffer. Certainly choosing to cause our own suffering is crazy. But when we live in a fallen world in which we have been promised suffering, then how we respond to suffering can be a real game changer and turn our suffering into an encounter with God.
Hindrance: Creatures of Comfort.
Because our nature is to cling to comfort, suffering is an enemy at first. It makes us have to exit our stability and injects pain or insecurity in our way. But the pursuit of comfort is not an admirable goal. The fruit of comfort seeking is often self-focused and humanistic. If it doesn’t feel good, we don’t want to escape our comfort bubble. but maybe comfort can become a prison that keeps us in neutral. Life will hurt sometimes, but avoiding pain or problems keeps us stagnant. Suffering can be an impetus for growth, even though it is uncomfortable.
The mind: Nothing is wasted.
Speaking truth to our mind in the midst of suffering rather than being blinded by pain can help us to have the strength to get through it. Knowing that suffering has a purpose, to make us like our LORD, helps me to hope when I hurt. Nothing is wasted in our lives – places of pain become places of worship when we offer them up to the LORD. The suffering we encounter in this life is being used by a sovereign God for purposes that a painless life could not achieve.
Faith: God sees.
Faith helps us to hold on. We are not forgotten because we suffer and God is not cruel to allow it in. While we suffer, He is with us. We can have deep fellowship with Him who truly understands what it is to suffer. These moments with God when we cry out to Him become treasured memories of our God meeting us in our place of need, evidence of relationship.
Action: Crying out.
When we cry out to God and pray to Him, He will answer. Maybe it is strength to bear our suffering. Maybe encouragement that He is with us. Maybe healing. Crying out changes us while we wait on God.
The end result: Hope is formed.
Suffering leads us to hope if we persevere. Seeking God from our place of suffering changes us when we depend on Him. It is not wrong to seek deliverance, but the motivation for deliverance is transformed when we want relief so we can be faithful to be His witness. Merely seeking the absence of pain for our pleasure does not bring Him glory.
God, help us to hold on when we hurt. We know your Character is good. Help us to not become discouraged in suffering, but to let it do its work and to offer it up as worship to You.
Psalm 119:50 My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.