How to turn suffering into a blessing
In this life, suffering is inevitable. Suffering can come in a variety of forms – physical, emotional, and perhaps spiritual. And while no one enjoys suffering, how we deal with it can make all the difference. Ultimately, we don’t have to let our pain destroy our overall morale. No amount of hardship can take away our faith in Christ, which gives us great hope for the future. Thankfully, we can learn to deal with our trials in a way that honors God and reaps a blessing.
In other words, we can learn to suffer well.
So what does it mean to suffer well? First, it means bringing glory to God in the midst of our trials. 1 Peter 4:16 says, “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.” Sometimes when we encounter hardship, we tend to become embarrassed or ashamed. We think of ourselves as unworthy of God’s favor and we sink back. But suffering can actually give us a unique opportunity to rise up glorify God. It can teach us to surrender and lean into Him, and to put our earthly fears and worries aside. It can motivate us to reach out to others who are in similar situations. And then, when we come out the other side, we can use all our new found wisdom (as well as our testimony) to impact people for the greater good — the Kingdom of God.
Suffering well also involves considering how our trials might actually benefit us. 2 Corinthians 4:17 says, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” This verse was written by the Apostle Paul – a man who suffered a great deal for the sake of his faith. Yet, he considered his troubles “light momentary afflictions” compared to the joy of knowing Christ. Paul realized that the trials he faced were actually building his faith. Oftentimes the uncomfortable things we have to go through end up making us stronger and drawing us closer to God. And that’s what He wants. Once you see how God can work in the middle of sorrow, you might even come to a new appreciation of His divine goodness and grace.
Finally, don’t lose sight of this one simple truth: your pain is temporary. In Romans 8:18, Paul says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Against the backdrop of eternity, our moments of suffering are here today and gone tomorrow. Something greater is coming: a day when pain and suffering and death will be no more. No matter how much we suffer here on earth, we can look forward to an eternity filled with an overflowing joy because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us.
So, my friends, what can we do in the meantime?
We can suffer well. We can fight the good fight of faith. And we can hold onto the eternal hope that we have in Jesus Christ our Lord.
“And the God of all grace, Who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” –1 Peter 5:10.