The Joy of Suffering

The Joy of Suffering

Every person goes through suffering. Maybe you aren’t suffering now, but I’m sure you have and if not you will.

If you’re wrestling with the tension of what to do today consider this: What if struggle and suffering is a means to get your attention?

As a parent when you fail your child(ren), you grieve. When you put all your effort in filling out job applications, trudging through interviews and get another rejection letter, it’s easy to find despair. The moment you receive news that a friend’s health is failing them and there is no cure, you feel helpless. Life cannot be journeyed avoiding personal pain. So what are we left with when our plans and dreams fall short and shatter?

A deeper need and understanding of grace.

Suffering never waits for the perfect time or until we are thoroughly prepared. It comes. And when it does, we are reminded of our limitations and inability to control the uncontrollable. Pain places us in a posture to be needy. Hurting calls for our attention, puts us in an uncomfortable position to depend on unmerited and divine assistance. We become needy of God’s unequivocal grace.

What better place to be?

Author J.I. Packer describes it in these words, “This is what all the work of grace aims at — an ever deeper knowledge of God, and an ever closer fellowship with Him. Grace is God drawing us sinners closer and closer to himself.”

Suffering draws us closer to grace. Grace brings us into a deeper knowledge of God and a closer relationship with Him. That deeper knowledge and relationship with Him reassures us that God never designed us to be alone in our suffering and that He craves for us to depend on Him and Him alone.

We don’t have to have it altogether. We don’t have to work harder to deserve it. As a matter of fact, when we aim for perfect we miss out on the Perfecter. That’s what makes grace so ridiculously attractive.

So when suffering persuades you to tap out and give in, take in the joy of being drawn closer to a Father that refuses to leave you alone in your pain.

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” — James 1:2–4

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