Admit it or not, whatever status in society and circumstance we are in, suffering seemed to be an inevitable part of life. We can only minimize them in our lives, but no one can avoid them.
I have learned in life that bad things happen even to good people, and that the real meaning of "blessing" is anything that gets you closer to God.
As an encouragement to those who are passing through difficult times, my prayer is for you to continue to hold on to your faith and that God is with you every step of the way until victory!
Based on a pamphlet I read at church titled “10 Reasons to Believe in a God Who Allows Suffering,” I came up with these 10 realizations while suffering to have inner peace:
1. It’s always our choice. God honored us with free will. This privilege can be used for good or harm. Like it or not, but we cause most of our own problems.
We can always choose otherwise and we can always choose to solve a problem. How many times do we just let things happen even if they harm us and others?
We don’t eat healthy and exercise regularly. Result: health problems.
We get into debt, don’t save and invest, and live beyond our means. Result: financial problems.
We put our self above everyone else (selfishness), we are foul-tempered and moody. Result: relational problems.
All these are the product of our own choices. So choose wisely.
2. Pain gives us a heads up. Suffering makes us recognize that we need improvement.
Without illnesses, we will never seek healing. Tired bodies will not seek rest. Without discomfort and noise, we will not reach for peace and quiet.
Without the inner nudge of conscience, the daily dissatisfaction of boredom, and the empty longing for a life of significance and purpose, people who are made to find satisfaction with the eternal Father will settle for far less.
Inconvenience and discomfort makes us strive for development.
3. Our true character is revealed in times of trouble. Strength of character is shown not when all is well, but during times of trouble.
As gold is refined by fire, and coal is subjected to a tremendous amount of heat and pressure to become a diamond, our character is developed by enduring the pressures and heat of our circumstances.
How do you know that you are patient? When you have the opportunity to show patience.
I remember this line from Evan Almighty, “Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient?”
4. This life is only temporary. If death is the end of everything, then living life makes no sense.
But if the end of life brings us to the edge of eternity, then the most fortunate people are those who have discovered through suffering that this life is not all we have to live for.
Those who find themselves with their eternal God after all the problems have not wasted their pain and are blessed beyond belief.
They are the ones who have discovered their own unending joy as their suffering drove them to the comforting arms of the Lord of eternity. That’s why Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)
5. Spiritual things are better than earthly ones. Think of it this way: this earthly life is but a dot compared to the infinite line of eternity.
The 70 years (on average) of life you are going to live here on earth is paltry compared to the millions of years you are going to spend in eternity.
The problem you have now means nothing 100 years from now.
Yes, it still is important to have a good life here on earth. Actually that is one promise of God that we, as His children, should claim (Jeremiah 29:11). This is a testimony of God’s goodness and grace, and we can use this to lead others to Christ.
But let us not get overly hooked to the temporary blessings of this world and forget about eternal blessings that are far better and permanent.
6. Suffering grows our faith. Nothing grows our faith more than suffering. It gives us the opportunity to trust God more.
Some people do otherwise. They let go of God, and succumb to a life of self-pity and misery. As what #1 said, it’s always our choice. Whether we go left or right. Whether we take all our problems to God and let Him handle them or we just carry all the weight ourselves. It’s our choice.
I choose to use these problems to grow my faith.
7. God is always in control. Look up in a dark night sky. Can you see all these stars? They are not just twinkle, twinkle little stars, how I wonder what you are. They are great, massive, ferocious balls of hot flaming gases.
Can you see the moon? On a hot tropical day, can you feel the burning sun? Have you watched how lions devour their prey, or eagles swoop miles down to catch theirs?
Can you imagine the weight of the ocean? With your calculator, I dare you to multiply the billions of stars in a galaxy with the billions of galaxies in the “known” universe.
Our God created all of these. You can trust Him with your life. There is a purpose for everything. He is always in control.
8. God is always with us. God knows our sufferings. He knows how much we feel because He has also gone through the same. We can trust Him.
No one has suffered like God when He paid for our sin through the crucified body of His own Son.
No one has so continuously grieved over the pain of a race gone bad.
No one has suffered more in showing us how much He loved us by forgiving us over and over again.
It is this same God who asks us to trust Him, and draw near to Him when troubles come. It’s again our choice to come to Him during these difficult times.
9. Problems show us who our true friends are. True friends encourage us, pray for us, and stick with us during troubling times. It is not during parties and celebrations we discover who our true friends are, but in times of pain and suffering.
Not only that but during natural disasters, calamities, and other crisis, we suddenly remember our own mortality and that people are more important than things. We remember that we do need one another, and that above all we need God.
10. God can turn suffering around for good. There are so many examples in the Bible when suffering ultimately turned out to be something good. Noah. Moses. Joseph. Daniel. Job. David. Paul. Etc.
When everything in us would like to scream and ask God why is He allowing pain to happen, we can always look at the reminder of Christ on the executioner’s cross, who suffered and died for all of us to save us from our sins and eternal death. The greatest turn around from suffering to victory!
You are not alone if the unfairness and suffering of life leaves you unconvinced that a God in heaven cares for you. But consider again the suffering of the One called by the prophet Isaiah, “a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3).
Think about His slashed back, His bloodied forehead, His nail-ripped hands and feet, His pierced side, His agony in the Garden, and His pathetic cry of abandonment.
Consider Christ’s claim that He was suffering not for His sins but for ours.
To give us the freedom to choose, He lets us suffer. But He Himself bore the ultimate penalty and pain for all of our sins (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24).
When you do see the reason for His suffering, keep in mind that the Bible says Christ died to pay the price for our sins, and that those who believe in their heart that God has raised Him from the dead will be saved (Romans 10:9-10).
The forgiveness and eternal life Christ offers is not a reward for effort but a gift to all who, only by faith, put their trust in Him. Knowing this, we can always find inner peace in times of trouble only in His presence.