Category: Suffering

In the hands of a good God, Suffering is a Gift!

๐‘ฐ๐’ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’‰๐’‚๐’๐’…๐’” ๐’๐’‡ ๐’‚ ๐’ˆ๐’๐’๐’… ๐‘ฎ๐’๐’…, ๐’”๐’–๐’‡๐’‡๐’†๐’“๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’Š๐’” ๐’‚ ๐’ˆ๐’Š๐’‡๐’•.

Colleen Chao is living under the shadow of terminal stage four cancer, and she’s learning how to suffer with hope. It’s stunningly beautiful.

“Hereโ€™s the thing about suffering (at least in my own limited experience): none of us are good at it. None of us have the capacity to suffer well with hope and joy.”

But the secret to slowly growing into a hope-filled, joyful sufferer has been shockingly simple: Go to God. Again and again and again.

I go to Him when Iโ€™m angry at His will for me. I go to Him in the middle of the night when grief threatens to undo me. I go to Him when Iโ€™m weary to the bone, or when Iโ€™m throwing myself an epic pity party.

By ‘going to Him’ I mean I turn my thoughts to Him and tell Him exactly what Iโ€™m feeling, all the nitty-gritty, gory details. I ‘pour out my heart like water in the Lordโ€™s presence’ (Lam. 2:19)โ€”and with the smallest mustard seed of faith, I believe that Heโ€™s listening to me and that He will be able to do something about my suffering (Isa. 64:4).

That rhythmic act of going to Him softens my heart to listen to Him, to hear His voice, to end my self-absorbed monologue and begin a beautiful dialogue with Him.

And hereโ€™s what Iโ€™ve become increasingly convinced of through this process over decades now: I cannot hear from Him or dialogue with Him (and thus cannot suffer well) apart from His Word.

Through the pages of Scripture He speaks exactly what my heart needs to hear. He reveals himself (sometimes in ways I donโ€™t immediately recognize), and those revelations change everythingโ€”my thoughts and desires and perspective and all.

And herein lies one of the most sacred gifts of suffering: the sufferer has a unique capacity to experience God through His Word in ways that cannot be experienced through days of comfort and ease.

I know I sound like a broken record, but Iโ€™ll sing this song to my last day: in the hands of a good God, suffering is a gift.”

Read more of Colleen’s blog post:

A Purpose In Suffering – Our Daily Bread

A Purpose in Suffering

Bible in a Year:

I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has. Job 42:7

Today’s Scripture & Insight: Job 42:1โ€“9

โ€œSo what youโ€™re saying is, it may not be my fault.โ€ The womanโ€™s words took me by surprise. Having been a guest speaker at her church, we were now discussing what Iโ€™d shared that morning. โ€œI have a chronic illness,โ€ she explained, โ€œand I have prayed, fasted, confessed my sins, and done everything else I was told to do to be healed. But Iโ€™m still sick, so I thought I was to blame.โ€

I felt sad at the womanโ€™s confession. Having been given a spiritual โ€œformulaโ€ to fix her problem, she had blamed herself when the formula hadnโ€™t worked. Even worse, this formulaic approach to suffering was disproved generations ago.

Simply put, this old formula says that if youโ€™re suffering, you must have sinned. When Job tragically lost his livestock, children, and health, his friends used the formula on him. โ€œWho, being innocent, has ever perished?โ€ Eliphaz said, suspecting Jobโ€™s guilt (Job 4:7).

Bildad even told Job that his children only died because they had sinned (8:4). Ignorant of the real cause of Jobโ€™s calamities (1:6โ€“2:10), they tormented him with simplistic reasons for his pain, later receiving Godโ€™s rebuke (42:7).

Suffering is a part of living in a fallen world. Like Job, it can happen for reasons we may never know. But God has a purpose for you that goes beyond the pain you endure. Donโ€™t get discouraged by falling for simplistic formulas.

By:  Sheridan Voysey