By Chuck Bentley
Nobody likes to suffer. I sure don’t. But I have learned that it helps to endure the pain if I put it all in context.
For instance, if I hit my thumb with a hammer, it hurts, and it makes me want to scream and shout and dance around on one foot while being really mad at myself. But if a fireman breaks through a window to rescue a child from a blazing house fire and barely escapes with his own life, even though he may have cuts and burns and may be suffering from smoke inhalation, holding that child safely in his arms makes it all worth it. He will not complain about his own injuries or pain.
You see, Paul said we should see our pain and suffering much like the fireman; it has a greater purpose. Listen to Romans 5:
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Paul explains that we have two reasons for rejoicing. First, we know and are known by God; all other human achievements pale in comparison to that! And second, we can now rejoice in our temporary sufferings because God will use them to strengthen our character and through that, to give us hope.
So if you are suffering, rejoice that you know and are known by God, and rejoice that your suffering will ultimately result in good. Be the fireman, not the one dancing on one foot, squeezing your thumb.
Originally posted 6/22/2015.
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