I couldn’t get how suffering was actually good for me. Of all the things I do in the name of strong and healthy, suffering never sounded vitally important. Take your vitamins, eat your vegetables, plenty of water, walk, rest, sunlight. But suffering?
“Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” Hebrews 5:8
My dull ears never charged this truth to my account. Like most hard things to hear, I prefer to pick and choose where I enter any given story. I love Daniel and the lion’s den—as long as God doesn’t lock me up. Joseph is one of my favorites to read—as long as I’m treated fairly. I admire the true prophets of old—as long as I’m safe, sound, and pain-free.
“Some suffering is given in order to chastise and correct a person for wrongful patterns of life (as in the case of Jonah imperiled by the storm), some suffering is given not to correct past wrongs but to prevent future ones (as in the case of Joseph sold into slavery), and some suffering has no purpose other than to lead a person to love God more ardently for himself alone and so discover the ultimate peace and freedom.”
– Timothy Keller, Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering.
The culture reduces suffering as pointless, to be thwarted at any, and all costs. We’ve been duped into believing if we can get through life with minimal suffering, we’ve lived a blessed life. According to scripture, that’s hogwash.
Jesus said, Learn from Me, find rest for your souls. Why? Because His life was health, wealth, and prosperity? Then we need to read our bibles again.
The prayers of the Saints runneth over with physical ailments, when our cup should be overflowing with spiritual praises. We pray safety and healing like it’s all we need. Not saying we don’t depend on God in our suffering. If that were the case, suffering would most certainly be pointless. What I’m unpeeling is, if God taught His Son obedience through suffering, why, as children of God, would we assume God teaches us another way?
“The greatest earthly blessing that God can give to any of us is health, with the exception of sickness.”
– Charles Spurgeon
Is it possible we could meet suffering like we greet sunlight, a full stomach, tall glass of water—knowing suffering makes us stronger, wiser, safer, braver—more like our Savior?
This will revolutionize our days you guys. When the back spasms, when the kids get sick, the employee quits, family breaks down, cancer comes, depression, inflation—not for inconvenience—for life saving obedience.
“Mark then, Christian, Jesus does not suffer so as to exclude your suffering. He bears a cross, not that you may escape it, but that you may endure it.”
– Charles Spurgeon
I know. I’m pushing suffering like I’ve done my time. As if it’s safe to say all this cause I’ve mastered obedience. I haven’t, and God knows it, and that’s why I’m hearing it. My hope is to prepare us, free us from lies like, “Why is this happening?” “God can’t love me and leave me this way?” “I’m worth nothing like this.”
From a physical standpoint, we’re only getting older. From a spiritual standpoint the world’s growing colder. Suffering can be hard, long, lonely but it’s not for nothing.
“He knows the way that I take when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10
So thankful to read more real truth so I can live my life to the fullest !!!!
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Grateful for you, David.