To be a Christian doesn’t mean that we will never have to suffer. Sometimes we have the idea that once we join ourselves to Christ, somehow he is on our team, and he’s going to protect us from anything hard happening. Actually, the Bible tells us over and over again that we should expect to suffer. God doesn’t save us from experiencing the brokenness of this world.
Your Suffering Isn't Meaningless
But there is the promise in the midst of this suffering that it’s never meaningless. It’s never random. We tend to look for big answers that are personal and singular in terms of that question why? And sometimes we look all over to find an answer to that question why? when the Scriptures themselves have lots of answers for us.
Suffering gives us the opportunity to find out if the faith that we’ve given lip service to is the real thing.
Hebrews 12 talks about how God disciplines us. It says that his discipline is for our good. Then it describes what that good is—it tells us in Hebrews 12:11, “For the moment, all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
So there’s a purpose: that there would be a fruit developed in the midst of our suffering, this fruit of righteousness.
In James 1 it says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
In other words, your suffering is actually going to cause you to become complete or completely mature. We have lots of other methods through which we hope to become mature in Christ. We want to go to a conference and take really good notes or study the Bible and know a lot. But, actually, the Bible reveals to us that various kinds of trials are going to come to us, and as we persevere in them, it’s going to do something in us. It’s going to make us spiritually mature.
Practical and down-to-earth, this short guide will equip you to come alongside a loved one who is hurting and offer comfort in ways that really help.
So, there’s an answer to that big question why? We know it’s not meaningless. God is helping us to grow up.
In 1 Peter 1:6–7 it says, “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you’ve been grieved by various trials.” And almost, as if we asked the passage the question why? it says, “So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Suffering gives us the opportunity to find out if the faith that we’ve given lip service to is the real thing.
Our faith, in the midst of difficulty and our response to the suffering in our life, actually results in praise, honor, and glory to him. What a purpose in suffering!
- What Not to Say to a Grieving Person (Nancy Guthrie)
- 10 Things You Should Know about Grieving People (Nancy Guthrie)
- What Can I Give to a Grieving Person? (Nancy Guthrie)