Suffering is For Our Good

Psalms 119:92-94 ESV

“If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.
I will never forget your precepts,
for by them you have given me life.
I am yours; save me,
for I have sought your precepts.”

We all go through stuff. None of us are immune from sickness, injury, heartache, pain, sadness and suffering in general. And if we follow Jesus Christ with our lives, we will also be hated and persecuted, despised and rejected by other humans. And not everyone is going to understand us. Even many professing Christians will not understand why we do what we do and why we choose not to participate in things that we shouldn’t.

And we all have our own personal convictions about some things, and others may not share the same convictions, and so others may not understand some of our decisions. Like for example, I have a bad history with medications and very bad reactions to them, so the Lord led me to stop taking all medications 14 years ago. I don’t even take anything for pain. Some people have a hard time with this, but prayer works. Jesus is still in the healing business. But it doesn’t mean we will never have to suffer.

For God allows us to go through trials and tribulations to test our faith. For suffering produces endurance, provided that we respond to the suffering with faith. And endurance produces character, and character produces hope. So our suffering involves character building. So we are not to be surprised at the fiery trials that come to test us, as though something strange is happening to us, for we are sharing in Christ’s sufferings.

So, we are to count it all joy when we meet trials of various kinds, for the testing of our faith produces steadfastness, again provided that we respond to the suffering with faith. And steadfastness must have its full effect, that we may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. So, we are to rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, we have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of our faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

[Matt 5:10-12; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Ac 14:22; Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12]

Now, I can speak with confidence when I tell you that if God’s Word was not my delight, I would have never made it through the trials I have gone through in my life. The Lord sustained me and he carried me through them. Though there was a period in my life when I caved to my circumstances, and I didn’t put my trust solely in the Lord and in his word, and it is amazing that I did not perish. But thank the Lord he brought me back.

The Word of the Lord breathes life into us. It teaches us so much about our Lord and about his will and purpose for our lives. We are instructed in the ways that we should go and we are warned regarding where we should not go. And we receive encouragement and hope and healing from God’s Word. And as we take in more of his word into our lives we draw closer to our Lord in sweet fellowship with him.

The Lord is our healer. He is our great physician. He is our comforter in sorrow and our helper in times of weakness. But, again, he takes us through trials, and he does allow us to suffer, because suffering produces good things in our lives, and suffering humbles us, and it teaches us to rely on God and not on ourselves. And when we go through times of suffering we then become more compassionate toward others in their suffering.

Come, Ye Disconsolate

Lyrics by Thomas Moore, 1816
Arr. by Thomas Hastings, 1831
Music by Samuel Webbe, Sr, 1792

Come, ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish,
Come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel.
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish;
Earth has no sorrow that heav’n cannot heal.

Joy of the desolate, light of the straying,
Hope of the penitent, fadeless and pure!
Here speaks the Comforter, tenderly saying,
“Earth has no sorrow that heav’n cannot cure.”

Here see the bread of life, see waters flowing
Forth from the throne of God, pure from above.
Come to the feast of love; come, ever knowing
Earth has no sorrow but heav’n can remove.

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