In my post yesterday, Why, Oh Why So Much Suffering, I wrote about the pain of suffering in our imperfect world.
I don’t think I will have too many disagree with me when I say,
“Pain and suffering is the pits!”
But there are good things that come from our suffering.
We tend to be selfish and stubborn, wanting our way. We think we need no one, we can do life on our own. We are wired for relationships, especially with God. God’s desire for a relationship with us often gets put off or ignored.
In The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains. It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
Pain screams in my life. Suffering opens a door to God. It makes it possible for God to make Himself known to our stubborn selves.
There is a saying, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” Because we are wired to have a relationship with Almighty God, it is no surprise when soldiers in the midst of fierce combat cry out to His divine power.
In Psalm 119:67-71 David said it was good for him to be afflicted. “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey Your word. You are good, and what You do is good; teach me Your decrees… I keep Your precepts with all my heart… I delight in Your law. It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn Your decrees.” David ran from a crazy king out to murder him for 13 years!
Does God have any inkling of what it is like to suffer or does He just sit on His throne, oblivious to it?
Isaiah 53:3-5 Says this about the God of Heaven Who came to earth for our sakes.
He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces, He was despised, and we held Him in low esteem. Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God,
stricken by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.
Heb. 5: 7-9 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One Who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission. Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.
God gets suffering.
Here’s another saying,
“If it doesn’t kill you, it will make you stronger.” I believe it is even a song.
In 2nd Corinthians 12:10 Paul, the man who suffered much said, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
1st Peter 1:6-7 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Philippians 1:12 Paul speaking of the chains he wears while under arrest, “Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.”
Our pain and suffering serves to advance the gospel in our own lives, makes us aware of God’s supreme love and His desire for us to have a relationship with Him.
I think any parent can resonate with the verse below. How many parents teach their kids to hit, to kick, to be mean, selfish or rude? I dare say not many. Our children come with those “perks” built right in.
Our children often don’t like being disciplined, BUT, we still discipline them because we LOVE them.
Hebrews 12:5-7 “And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as children, ‘ My child, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, or lose heart when you are punished by Him, for the Lord disciplines those whom He loves , and chastises every child Whom He accepts.’ Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline?
Hebrews 12:11 Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
When life rips our heart out, we must focus our attention on God and what we can control. We must examine what we think, what we do and what we say in comparison to Scriptures. I often ask, “What lesson is there for me, Lord?” and “How can I learn it quickly?’
By ~ Elizabeth Yalian 2013 ©http://hiseyeisonthissparrow.com.