We are living in a time of various sufferings. Suffering is a reality of life we must endure at all costs. Unfortunately, people disdain the concept of suffering simply because of its unpredictability. From a Christian perspective, suffering is expected. The apostle Peter exhorted everyone how suffering produces the God’s grace: And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you (1 Peter 5:10, ESV).
Randy Alcorn provided his observation about suffering and its purpose from Gods perspective:
God uses suffering to purge sin from our lives, strengthen our commitment to him, force us to depend on his grace, bind us together with other believers, produce discernment, foster sensitivity, discipline our minds, impart wisdom, stretch our hope, cause us to know Christ better, make us long for truth, lead us to repentance of sin, teach us to give thanks in times of sorrow, increase our faith, and strengthen our character. And once he accomplishes such great things, often we can see that our suffering has been worth it.
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Suffering, when fully understood from God’s perspective, is good for us. Adding perseverance when going through suffering adds the faith dimension of seeing God work for His glory and our benefit. H. Jackson Brown, Jr. exemplified how perseverance changes the dynamic when suffering is present: “In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins, not through strength but by perseverance.”
Here are some practical truths to learn as we go through life’s suffering. First, sufferings are part of our life and must be expected in Christian life. However, giving up is not an option. The apostle Paul showed what attitude one must apply: And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9, ESV). In addition, it is best to remember Charles Spurgeon’s reminder, “By perseverance the snail reached the ark.”
Next, sufferings are an opportunity for God’s grace and power seen and manifested. That’s why we need to “seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” (1 Chronicles 16:11, ESV). Billy Graham described,
People who go through life unscathed by sorrow and untouched by pain tend to be shallow in their perspectives on life. Suffering, on the other hand, tends to plow up the surface of our lives to uncover the depths that provide greater strength of purpose and accomplishment.
The apostle Paul exemplified suffering and adding a huge dose of perseverance. He simply followed Jesus’ example. Actually, Jesus foretold that his Christian journey is marked with much suffering. He responded accordingly with this knowledge on hand. Inwardly, he rejoiced with hope in God’s promises and assurances. Outwardly, he exhibited perseverance during tribulations, and he stood firmly at all times. Most importantly, he prayed constantly and sought help from the Lord without wavering.
In this New Year, your life may be filled with sufferings similar to or worse than last year. However, here’s something you need to realize as you face another year, “You made it! And no matter how you faced the challenges or sufferings of the past year, God was with you last year and if you allow Him, He’ll be with this New Year!
If you ask me, allow me to share the Bible verses that became my daily source of facing life’s sufferings with joy and perseverance:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him. The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him” (Lamentations 3:22-25, ESV).
Keep looking up to God for help and He will never let you down.
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