It was the fall of 2008. My life was in a state of turmoil. In spite of my commitment to follow Christ with everything inside me, in spite of tremendous healing He had brought about in so many areas, I found myself in a time of intense trial and testing. The very foundations of my life were being shaken to the core, and I had a choice to make. Would I continue to trust the Jesus who said, “I am with you always” or wander away in my hurt and pain?
I took out my notebook one evening and wrote down every reason I could think of to be thankful for suffering. As the list grew, I could feel myself getting stronger. Not just survive suffering, not just endure suffering, but be THANKFUL for it. I believe this list kept me from cashing in my chips and walking away, like so many before me. I thought I’d share the list with you:
- Because He said to “rejoice always”
- Because it makes me stronger & more able to endure even greater hardship.
- Because it exposes hidden sins that otherwise would go on poisoning me secretly.
- Because it’s an opportunity to be like Jesus.
- Because it’s an opportunity to die to self.
- Because it builds my trust in Him.
- Because it makes heaven look that much sweeter.
- Because it makes me more thankful during times I am not suffering.
- Because it places me in the company of “that great cloud of witnesses.”
- Because my endurance gives glory to God.
- Because it doesn’t give Satan what he’s looking for by afflicting me.
- Because it gives an opportunity for God to prove His faithfulness to me.
- Because growth happens during times of suffering.
- Because it separates me from the world.
- Because it increases my eternal reward.
- Because it gives me a chance to love my enemies.
- Because it’s an opportunity to submit to God.
- Because it gives me more compassion and understanding for others who suffer.
- Because it kills pride.
- Because it makes me more serious in my prayers.
- Because it severs my dependence upon emotion and feelings.
- Because God said so.
- Because suffering reminds me not to trust in man, riches, myself or anything else that cannot help.
- Because other saints of God are going through much greater suffering.
- Because I am a Christian, and suffering is the way of the Christian life.
- Because I am to consider suffering a blessing and not a curse.
- Because whatever I suffer is nowhere near what my sins deserve.
Just typing that list into the computer makes me again thankful for the suffering I go through. We serve a Jesus who knew suffering. The Bible says he was a man of sorrow, acquainted with grief. The way of the cross is a way of suffering and pain and sorrow. To think it is anything else is to buy into a false gospel of comfort. Instead of running from suffering, we should embrace it. It is only then that we find true joy in the midst of hardship.
Can you think of any other reasons I can add to my list? Leave a reply below if you would.