“He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.” – Aeschylus
Whether fortunately or unfortunately, it seems as though if we are to learn, we must suffer. The Bible says of Jesus in Hebrews 5:8, “Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.” Psalm 4:1 says, “…thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.”
Suffering is not fun. Distress is not fun. Waiting for answers to your prayers or for the Lord to reveal what He is doing can be disheartening at times. When we go through hard times, we draw closer to the Lord. We should be just as close to the Lord in good times and in bad times, but it is always true that those especially tough times draws us specially close to Him.
It’s like having one or two pieces of a puzzle sometimes. We cannot see the whole picture, but the Lord can. We don’t understand how everything fits together, but the Lord does, and He gives us this hope in His Word.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” -Romans 8:28
Only the Lord knows what is in store for us, and what we must endure to make us stronger, trustworthy, tested, tried, and true for the greater things He has planned for us to do.
Men and women go through basic training and meet with resistance, trials, and tests to make them ready for the war ahead. The more that they are tried and the greater the obstacles that they have to overcome in basic training, the more likely they are to survive the war. They must suffer. But their suffering has a purpose. We, as Christians, must die to ourselves so that Christ may live through us. The Bible says in John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” We, as true Christians, should be going through the death process daily. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:31, “I die daily.”
Our flesh is to be crucified in order that our spirit might rise up and live. Galatians 5:24 says, “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” Acts 14:22 says, “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God” and that includes suffering. Although we do not seek out suffering, it is bound to come. But remember, through it all we must have faith in God that He knows what He is doing and in the end we will see the reason for it all.
Those who bear their cross have a greater understanding of Christ. Jesus said in Matthew 10:38, “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me.” Also, keep in mind that after you have gone through a hard ordeal or been through the storm, so to speak, you appreciate peaceful waters so much more than someone who has not gone through the storm or difficult times.
My point is, suffering (a righteous suffering, not one that you caused by your own choices of disobedience – although God can use that too) is needful to learn, but remember, there is always a purpose for it in the end. Whether you see it now or 10 years from now, God will reveal it in some way to you. Suffering will make you stronger and draw you closer to God.
So when you are going through the storm, don’t lose heart or faith in the midst of it all. Why? Because “…we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).” And as Matthew 6:8 says, “…your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him.”
He truly knows better than we do and what is best for us, so trust and obey and He will surly show you the way.