We all suffer in our lives. It can be physical, emotional, relational, financial, etc. We don’t seek out suffering, nor do we welcome or invite it to come into our lives, but it comes nonetheless, sometimes expectedly, and sometimes we can see it in the distance. Regardless, when it hits, it plows us hard against the wall and can test our faith in our Father, but it must be kept in perspective of our faith.
In Romans 8:18, the Apostle Paul states, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
We all suffer, no doubt, and at different degrees with differing thresholds, but suffering… it is not a joyous occasion to witness in our lives. We need to keep our suffering in perspective or in context to eternity, though. Remember that we are just a wisp in the wind in the grand scheme of forever during our time in this world, and to hold onto the bigger picture will do us well when we do suffer.
No, we don’t seek out suffering, but in all honesty, as hard as it can and will be, we need to embrace it when it invades our lives and makes its presence known. This is quite the opposite of what we are taught by the world. The world tells us to avoid or mitigate suffering by turning to the world and worldly solutions, not godly solutions.
No matter how much effort we put in avoiding suffering, suffering will come. We can try to run from it, but facing it is the better course of action. Embrace it, don’t fight it, because when we face it, this is when we learn how to endure (Romans 5:3-5), not in a worldly sense but in a godly and spiritual sense in the way our Father wants us to live and grow in our sanctification journey.
The world says when we are suffering to look for the easy way out. The world does offer easy way outs, but they usually just delay or trade one form of suffering for another. What the world does not know is that the only way to address suffering is to turn to our Father.
Our Father promised us that He will not leave or abandon us.
How could He, with us as His adopted sons and daughters, turn from us and shun us in the moments of suffering? The thing is, Christian, is that He won’t. Our Father will not turn us away when we run to Him to help us.
Our Father wants us to run to Him in times of suffering. He wants to give us the wisdom and perseverance to endure what we face. Will He relieve us of our suffering? Yes, He does, and no, He doesn’t. What I mean is that, in the mysteries of God, His will is done, not ours, and He will do as He pleases whether it is to give us relief or to let us suffer a little more.
We don’t know why one of two people, both with the same or similar suffering, is granted relief by our Father while the other is not, but it is not our place to demand answers from God.
I don’t know, and you can’t know either why our Father allows some to suffer more, but what we can remember is what our Father told the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9, that His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in weakness.
So, as we squabble and complain about this or that and how miserable we are and question why God does not fix things or make things better, we will do well to remember that His grace is sufficient for us. And how true is that! That in our fleshly and rebellious lives, who are we to demand from God what He should do for us, like we know what is better for us than God Himself!? We should not because we are not above God. That He sacrificed His only Son for our sins is enough to enable us to endure anything the world throws at us.
His grace is enough in suffering. His grace for our sins and our rebellious fleshy selves is more important and more profound than our complaints and whining about this or that when we suffer. We need to keep our focus on our Father and not falter in our trust in His ways for us.
Our Father has a purpose in our suffering, for what we are going through. There is nothing that God does not know, and the suffering we endure, He is in control of that as well. Whether that suffering lasts for a short time or a season or more in our lives, we are not to question Him. If we do, we are questioning His omnipotence; and that, my friends, is sinful.
What we can ask, though, is to humbly seek from Him what we are to learn or what is He trying to impart to us from our suffering.
From my own life, I have ailments that cause constant suffering, both physical pain and mental health. Who am I to question and demand from God the “why” in a defiant manner? What power do I have over God? Absolutely none! I have, and you have, no power over God’s will for our lives in our sufferings. But some try, and some do question God’s ways. And by questioning God’s authority over our lives, we question His will and purposes for us.
When we suffer, we are to come to Him on our knees in meekness and humbleness and not complain or demand, but to humbly seek His will. What is our Father trying to impart to us during periods of suffering? What is the lesson to learn or the principle to practice? Is there wisdom to gain?
God is not an evil puppet master, pulling strings this way or that to make us suffer; He is a loving Father to us. Get it? A loving Father. Not a malicious Father, not a wavering Father, but a Father of constant mercy and grace, to be beheld by us as higher than anything, even our own understanding, as hard as it may be for some to perceive or grasp this truth.
In our suffering, our Father does not want us to bend or break in our faith, but to grow in it. Because He is God, and a just God at that, He wants us to obey Him and love Him. He doesn’t want us to stumble in our faith when we suffer but to draw nearer to Him as a child that clings to a loving parent when they need support, to be loved and supported.
I don’t know your story with your suffering, but I can tell you this: our Father is right beside us when we suffer, walking with us, and yes, sometimes carrying us through those times. Our Father knows what is best for each one of us for His glory, not ours, for His Kingdom, not our comfort.
When we lose our focus on our Father when we suffer, there are two things to do: prayer and intentional reading of His Word. Prayer is the communication we have through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross to our Father in Heaven. We can talk to Him. We can cry to Him, and we can seek His will for us.
When we intentionally read His Word, we can find and see the depth of His love for us, and we can gain wisdom in our lives and put into perspective the reasons for our suffering. In His Word, we will find comfort and peace to endure whatever the world throws at us regarding suffering.
My friends, don’t give up on our Father and His unknown ways in our suffering. Our suffering is not worth losing our relationship with our Father because He is for us, not against us. Hold fast, be strong in the Lord, and always look up.