Suffering

15 11 2014

The iconic story of suffering is in the Biblical Book of Job. Everything was going along smoothly for Job, then BAM, his whole life is turned upside down. All of his children died, his wealth dissipated, his health was taken, his friends became his critics, children laughed at him, his credibility in town went to zero, his wife wanted him to curse God and die. Emotions were raw, his mind was clouded by unanswered questions, his body exhibited open purifying sores, his spirit was broken and bleeding.  He cursed the day he was born and wanted God to take his life. The suffering was just too hard to take “What did I do wrong?” And yet he could not think of anything that merited such harsh treatment. He was a good man…God even said he was! His life was coming apart at the seams, but he made it to the other side of suffering. When he got there, he was changed! Suffering is like that, it will either make you bitter or better

Corrie ten Boom was a Christian from the Netherlands during the time of the Jewish Holocaust in her Nazi-occupied country. She and her family saved many Jews, sending them on to freedom. They created a secret hiding place in their home and when the timing was right, they covertly sent them away. This went on for about 4 years until a snitch went to the Gestapo, Corrie was in her 40’s. They sent her dad, sister, and herself to a concentration camp. Dad died within 10 days. She and her sister Bessie were transferred to the most infamous of all concentration camps, Ravensbruck. Jews were gassed and incinerated on a daily basis. Bessie died from the horrid conditions. Yet Corrie made it to the other side of suffering and was found to be a useful servant to the church. She became a better person because of her suffering as she taught us all of love, forgiveness, and priorities God gave her a wisdom that could only be forged in suffering. She has many memorable nuggets of wisdom, such as…

“There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.”
“You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have.”
“Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.”

Peter talks a lot about suffering in his first epistle and gives advice on how we could make it to the other side of suffering. Verses like 1 Peter 5:10, “But the God of all grace, who has called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” Suffering will last “a while”, with no particular time attached. Sometimes it results in calling us to “His eternal glory” (heaven); sometimes it makes us a better person. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

Suffering happens, it cannot be avoided, but it will be more tolerable if we realize that it is being used by God to bring us to a greater maturity. And even if our suffering kills us in the end, we have the hope of Heaven. Look at the life of Bessie and Corrie ten Boom. They never lost their hope.
A person is well-nigh finished when they lose hope

I do not know your situation of suffering but can I be your biggest cheerleader? You can do this.

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