I don’t know any sane and sensible person who likes to suffer. Suffering hurts. Suffering is a result of living as sinners in a post-fall world. However, as Christians we can come to appreciate that God redeems suffering in order to accomplish His good purposes for His beloved. In fact, Scripture informs us that it is through suffering that God works endurance, character, and unabashed hope in the lives of His children:
“…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame…” Romans 5:3-5
How will we have a joyful faith that endures to the end? Through the trials of suffering.
How will we be sculpted into the image of Christ? By the hammer and chisel.
Why will we look and long for our certain future and final redemption? Because of the groanings of affliction.
The Psalmist writes, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word… It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.” (Ps 119:67, 71). Christopher Ash helpfully comments, “[God] does not willingly afflict; he afflicts because it is the only way to achieve his promise and to keep me walking in his way. He has promised that the saints will persevere; but no saint will ever persevere unless the Lord afflicts him on the way. The affliction is not the failure of God’s faithfulness, but precisely the expression of it.”
By faith let us rest in the biblical truth that infinite Wisdom and faithful Love has designed our good through our sufferings.
“God is too wise to be mistaken. God is too good to be unkind. So, when you don’t understand; when you don’t see His plan; when you can’t trace His hand, trust His heart.” (Eddie Carswell & Babbie Mason)
Chuck Cook is the pastor of Grace Bible Church - Rolla.