We know that suffering produces in us perseverance and character, not only has Paul laid that out for us in one of the more famous verses in Romans (5:3), but we’ve also likely lived through this at some point. You know the old “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” has rung true for all of us at some time in our lives. But one point I wanted to make about suffering is what a high value God puts on it. And for good reason.
Something I’ve come to find, and was reminded of as I read in 1 Peter this morning, is that suffering can also be a call to action. I see where it also produces in us empathy, and through empathy we begin to feel compassion, and compassion makes us move.
You know what I see in this verse? “Keep on”. Keep on….Keep on doing what is right. That is what pleases God.
It’s not the suffering itself that pleases God, but how we deal with it sure can. As I’m enjoying a prayerful start to September, I found this reminder really ringing true and to those who are suffering, take heart, because God sees what you are going through and He really does care. He really does want to help bear the burden with us. Maybe that’s the most frustrating part, we see God as capable of taking it away so when He doesn’t we question His goodness. Careful there, that’s looking at life through the eyes of the world, which Jesus strongly rebuked Peter for when he did that, remember? Jesus tells Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Matthew 16:23
If I could offer any encouragement today, it would be that God sees what you are going through and He cares enough to bear it with you if you’ll let Him.
Comforts us so that we may comfort others. Keep your eyes on Him and try not to see your circumstances through the eyes of the world. The former leads to trust and triumph where the latter leads to dissatisfaction and grumbling.
We have hope. Do we even understand how huge that is?? Let’s please act like it. For there is certainly enough hopelessness out there. We have hope through salvation, we have a glorious gift that is to be shared, no matter what trials we are facing.
It’s not supposed to be easy or comfortable, and once we can accept that then we can truly begin to let these experiences of suffering refine us into something more usable for God. To gain endurance and character for ourselves, and to learn through empathy to have compassion for others. Compassion that makes us care more deeply, but more importantly, makes us move regardless of the cost to ourselves.