One of the most difficult realities of life is that we will face pain and at times, intense suffering.
We face the shocking reality of physical, emotional, and relational pain in uncountable ways. We experience death and losses of many kinds. It’s part and parcel of life on planet Earth.
When pain and suffering come, we recognize that we are not in control of our lives. Our culture teaches us that all pain is bad, and so… …we look for a quick relief or instant cleansing of the pain.
It is natural for our culture to examine God’s purpose and plans in the midst of suffering. But, if we are followers of Jesus we need to see from Scripture that God has a purpose, and it’s a deep purpose in our suffering.
In his excellent book called “Walking with God through Pain and suffering” Timothy Keller shares such a good biblical view of the reality of suffering, the purpose of suffering, and instructions on how to walk with God as we suffer.
Keller writes that the ultimate and deepest suffering was experienced by Jesus. “He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross,”Philippians 2:8.
Jesus experienced weariness and thirst, distress, grief, he was troubled in heart, he was misunderstood, tempted, assaulted by the devil, and hated by sinful man. Jesus experienced suffering on our behalf. But He… Humbled Himself anyway. He chose humility over self exaltation.
In my heart I know that God has some kind of purpose for us in our pain and suffering. But in my mind… well, quite honestly, I don’t like how it can cause us to ache, cry, be afraid and… (maybe you can fill in a few thoughts…).
Romans 8:18 says, “. . . if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” Somehow God uses our suffering for His future glory.
2 Corinthians 4:17 says, “For this momentary, light affliction, is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.”
The Bible guides us to walk with God in a number of practical and helpful ways as we suffer. I really like what Keller says to those going through suffering, “scripture gives us supreme and clear direction.”
Weep and mourn:
- We need to be real and pour out our heart to the LORD as we go through times of pain and suffering. We look to God for His comfort.
Trust God and His Word:
- We look to God in faith and Scripture to allow God to strengthen our faith.
- “Pray always, pray without ceasing, pray about everything.”
Meditate on the Truth:
- “…Meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
- Think less of ourselves and more of God, as we go through pain and suffering.
Give thanks in all things.
Think the right things about God in the midst of suffering:
- “Think on things that are true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worth of praise, dwell on these things,”Philippians 4:8.
In His Shadow,
~ Mary Lindow ©
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Mary Lindow has a passion for encouraging others – all generations, careers or vocations to live expressing excellence through personal integrity, healthy accountability, and wise management of talents and skills. She’s a sought after keynote, inspirational, humorous speaker and teacher across the USA and internationally in Ministers & Spiritual leaders Conferences, and training seminars for various organizations.