Summary: Don't waste your suffering - Use It to grow, comfort others and let your light shine.
On twitter a Pastor posted: "Two Sundays ago I preached on sickness. Since then half my congregation has fallen ill. Sunday I preach on sadness. Consider yourself warned."
I tweeted back: "I preached on suffering and my car broke down and my wife has been in emerg twice. I gonna preach on money."
Suffering is a part of life, a part of life that I do not enjoy. I like the nice weather of life and I am not too interested in the storms that continue to blow my way. However, the reality is that our world is broken and hard times come whether we want them to or not.
One thing I like about the Bible is that it's a book written by real people, serving a real God and they have real problems. I think everyone of us can relate to these words from Psalm 22:1
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?”
"Here I am living my life for Jesus trying to love Him with all my heart, soul and mind yet all this stuff keeps happening to me. What's up with that? This is not fair at all!!!"
Scripture gives us many reasons for suffering let's consider 3 of them.
1) Here's How To Use Your Suffering - Use It To Grow
I have searched from Genesis to Revelation and what I see sometimes I don't like:) I see people's faith in God really growing as they went through tough times. I wish the examples were different but they are not. In the consideration of trials that come our way Peter said:
"These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world." (1 Peter 1:7)
We grow in strength by working and testing our bodies.
We grow in school by working and testing our brains.
We grow in God when our faith is worked and tested.
I don't know about you but I often forget that the faith I have inside is actually worth more than gold? Our faith is valuable and it becomes more valuable as it gets tested. Don't Waste Your Suffering - Use It
2) Here's How To Use Your Suffering - Use It To Comfort Others
A friend of mine recently went through a divorce and was having great difficulty working things through with his ex. I did my best to help but when he finally met a guy who just a couple of years ago went through the same thing it made a huge different. "Finally someone who understands me!!"
"He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." (1 Corinthians 1:4)
We can receive the comfort of God in many ways:
A unique work of the Holy Spirit
A Scripture or encouragement from another person.
When God comforts us it's not meant to be the end it's just the beginning. God expects us to be looking for opportunities to give comfort to others. Don't Waste Your Suffering - Use It