“All this is for your sake; and as God’s grace reaches more and more people, they will offer to the glory of God more prayers of thanksgiving. For this reason we never become discouraged. Even though our physical being is gradually decaying, yet our spiritual being is renewed day after day. And this small and temporary trouble we suffer will bring us a tremendous and eternal glory, much greater than the trouble. For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever.”
– 2 Corinthians 4:15-18
The difficulties we may suffer serve a purpose in the Lord. They are often the consequences of grace increasing its reach to the lost, for which the adversary is strongly and at times violently opposed. And they serve to increase the development of Jesus in us.
Now you might think that suffering is a bad thing that needs to be removed immediately. We agree. Suffering was never a creation of God our Father; it was a consequence of a fallen world and a tool of darkness. Christ came to destroy the works of the enemy. However, as God carries out His divine will it sometimes requires that we endure suffering.
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
– 1 Peter 5:8-10
When suffering presents itself we know it is the work of the devil trying to break people down in body, mind and soul. We know that he is on this attack against every believer across the world. And we know it is only temporary because God restores each of us in His time. Suffering is never without a purpose.
When you find yourself in difficult times, even agonizing circumstances, and it seems to go on without end be certain it is not God causing you that grief. He’s not mad at you! You are His child and He loves you and treasures you. Certainly in His great power He could step in and end your grief immediately – so why doesn’t He? Because while you are suffering your circumstances are aiding another or others in the receiving of God’s grace. He hasn’t abandoned you. He’s asking you to hang on! This suffering won’t last! You are working with Him in the salvation of other souls.
and as God’s grace reaches more and more people, they will offer to the glory of God more prayers of thanksgiving. For this reason we never become discouraged
And you yourself are receiving a greater weight of glory as the suffering serves to produce Christ in you even more than He was. You become even more like our Saviour! Trust our Father. He knows the greater and the greatest good – for you and for every one of us.
Suffering is never without a purpose.
Does this mean we can reach a point where suffering ceases? No. Not in this life. The devil is enraged. Think of any experience you’ve had with an enraged person. They’re almost insane in their fury, without stable logic and unable to be reasoned with. He is violently attacking anyone and everyone. However, for believers we do reach a point in our maturity when we see him for who he is, and we learn to resist him in the faith. We know who we are in the Father and we grow in peace and certainty in our minds and souls. We reach a point where the devil has no more influence on our thoughts, and no power over our persons.
In each life he will often turn to deceiving others to be instruments of his attacks. We do not resist them, but instead turn the other cheek. In doing that the tools of the devil are rendered useless because they’re not being put to use. The people themselves are not the enemy – just deceived by the enemy. It is a war while we are still here in this life, and we are here because others are being saved through God’s preparations and actions involving each of us.
“But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, so that you will become children of your Father in heaven, because he makes his sun rise on both evil and good people, and he lets rain fall on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
– Matthew 5:44-45
Do you see how valuable you are when you are seemingly defeated? Do you see how powerful you are at your lowest?
“Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
– 2 Corinthians 12:10
We encourage you to read and re-read this post – and settle your hearts and minds in the truth. Suffering exists, and happens. We try to avoid it with wisdom, and we try to end it when that is in our power, but we never blame God for it. Instead we rejoice (or at least a little smile) that our Father is at work when we suffer. We are partners with Jesus in saving souls, we are becoming even more like Him, and we are not abandoned – ever!
“…And remember, I am with you each and every day until the end of the age.”
– Matthew 28:20b