Suffering. The state of or an instance of enduring pain. That is a definition of suffering from the dictionary. In fact, I wrote a post about pain and suffering last Summer and shared some of the reasons that God allows pain and suffering in our lives. It was a revelation to me as I researched God’s word and began to understand why I had to go through suffering from the stroke.
The point I shared that stays in the forefront of my mind even until this day about faith. When we go through experiences or are faced with the reality of having to live through suffering, our faith in God should increase as we seek shelter from the suffering.
Whether or not you are currently suffering physically or emotionally, you will at some point be faced with the choice to stand strong in your faith in God or want to lash out and cast blame. You may blame yourself, blame someone else, or get angry and turn away from God.
Before you do that, remember God understands suffering. He suffered for us on the cross as the perfect sacrifice for our sins because He loves us unconditionally. It is because of Christ’s sacrifice we have put our faith in Him in the hope of spending eternity in Heaven someday. It is the same faith which gives us hope in the midst of suffering.
There are so many stories in the Bible about Jesus healing people not only because of His compassion but because of their faith. One of my favorites is the story of the paralytic and his four friends that could not get to Jesus because of the crowds. They cut a hole in the roof and lowered him down on a pallet so that Jesus could heal him. Talk about some great friends! What a blessing to have faith-filled friends like that!
I say to you get up pick up your pallet, and go home. And He got up immediately picked up his pallet and went out in the sight of everyone so they were all amazed and glorifying God…” Mark 2:11-12.
God wants us to have resolute faith regardless of the pain and suffering we are exposed to or experiencing. Jesus stated in John 16:33 that we will have tribulation but to take courage in remembering that He has overcome the world.
One way we can stand strong in our faith is to realize we are not alone and not the only ones to experience suffering. One passage of scripture I have memorized continues to strengthen my faith. This directive from God is a passage of hope and is found in first Peter.
But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself, perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:9-10.
What a passage of hope from God’s word! When we experience suffering, know that other believers in Christ have experienced similar and overcome them with God’s help. God is perfecting our faith, confirming our faith in Jesus Christ, and strengthening our faith for what lies ahead. This is how the maturity of a Christian develops.
As the Christian matures and seeks to live for Christ, there’s a pretty good chance the instances of suffering will increase. Look at Christ’s disciples. Most of them were martyred, executed, or exiled. Satan does not want our “light to shine” for Christ. He wants to destroy Christians, their lives and their testimony.
Remember, we are soldiers in God’s army. Pain and suffering are some of Satan’s weapons that he uses to attack and destroy us. God uses those same experiences to make us stronger warriors! Not only do we grow strong in our faith but the strength of Almighty God is revealed to us and those around us.
The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the earth to strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” 2 Chronicles 16:9.
For this reason and to keep me from exalting myself, there was given to me a messenger from Satan to torment me and to keep me from exalting myself. Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly therefore, I will rather boast about my weakness so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-9.
God grants us the grace to endure any suffering and His power is revealed for His glory in our weakness. That is reason enough to stand strong in our faith in spite of our suffering. Suffering is difficult and extremely painful.
God uses suffering to make our faith strong in Him and nourish our hope. He is our Savior, our Protector, our Provider and most important He loves us. Can you think of anyone better to put your faith in during the midst of suffering? Stand strong in the faith my sisters and brothers!
Love in Christ,