At some point of our lives, we will experience loss, excruciating pain and unbearable suffering.
We may ask God why He is doing this, why He allows such pain to be afflicted upon us or what His purpose is for bringing us through this time of trial.
I am not one to share my burdens with others as I feel like they would look at me in a different light, like I’m always the one with the sickness, like I’m always the one with the problems and because I’m sick, I’m afraid people would treat me differently. I don’t like to place my burdens on others for them to carry as well because I would think they have enough problems of their own. But God reminds me that we are all Christians and adopted as sons and daughters of Christ. And because of this, we are one family. We are one body of Christ. And Galations 6:2 tells us, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ”. Christ has made it clear that if a child of God is suffering, our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are to bear the suffering of that one child and go through the trials with him/her, just as Christ has taken all our burdens and placed it on his shoulders and carried the cross for us.
I must admit, although I am reminded of this, and I know this by heart, it is still very difficult for me to share my pain with others.
For those of us who do not understand why we go through pain and suffering, here are a few reasons:
- Pain and suffering is essential in the Christian life
Jesus suffered and died on the cross for us. And he faced many trials on his time on earth. But even as he faced those trials, he learned obedience. (Heb 5:8) If the Son of God learned obedience from suffering, what more can we learn from our time of suffering. There are many lessons that God is trying to teach us through this time. We just have to pray for an open heart, an open mind, that we may not be oblivious to the works of God around us.
2. Pain and suffering strengthens our faith
It is through the difficult times where we really learn to rely and fully depend on God for strength. We will start to see the beauty of God through our time of suffering as He reveals Himself to us. I say this by experience. It was only through the long hospital stay that I truly felt the closest to God as I looked to Him for hope and strength. By fully surrendering it all to Him, our faith grows. The devil will do all it can to separate and destroy our walk with God. But there is nothing that can ever separate us from the love of God (Rom 8: 35-39) as He has promised us, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”. We are His sheep and He, our shepherd. He will watch over us. To see your faith grow in such a time is a joy. Take pleasure in your suffering for it strengthens your faith. (James 1:2-4)
3. Pain and suffering glorifies God
God uses the weak to shame the strong. And He can use us too, in our darkest times, to encourage others. When they see Christ so deeply rooted in us, how we call on Him for help, they will be amazed by God working in us and through us. It is easy for one to praise God when given a news that enlightens us but it is all the more glorifying to God when we praise Him even when we are suffering. Because of the experiences we have been through, God uses us to encourage and build one another up. We must remember that this pain and suffering is NOT God’s wrath on us for He has not destined us for wrath. Instead, it is our salvation. (1 Thes 5:9-11) which should give us hope for “whether we are asleep or awake, we might live in Him”
Now I hope you see that your pain and suffering isn’t meaningless. It has a purpose. And be glad that God is using you during this time in your life for His glory as it is truly an honour, in any way, whether we are suffering or not, to be used by Him for His purpose.