Suffering- the bearing of undergoing pain, hardship or distress.
We live our lives surrounded by suffering and pain. Our time seems to be loaded with many and diverse situations that cause suffering and pain. Some of the pain is physical and much of it is emotional. We are faced with difficult decisions, and we must decide how to react to suffering. Wars, sickness and strife are now regarded as things that just happen. It seems that we are backed into a corner and just must bear the pain.
That is true ,but suffering can be used for our benefit. We all know that Jesus suffered and died for us. His suffering had a great and noble purpose. He offered himself freely for that purpose. Heaven forbid we think that we can accomplish with our suffering what Jesus did with his. Our suffering can, however, have a purpose. We are all called to be followers of Jesus, and perhaps we should consider that our sufferings are a way we follow him. The scripture says, “That suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”
When I was a boy and something unfortunate happened that caused me pain or stress, I was to “offer it up.” This practice is known as redemptive suffering. Simply put, redemptive suffering is taking our misfortunes and pains and allowing them to be an avenue to identify with the suffering of Jesus on the cross.
How does that look?
We see our pain as redemption.
We know that our suffering is rooted in the world and not God.
We know that suffering brings growth.
We acknowledge that it will end.
We offer our pain as a prayer.
There are those who have decided that to be a fully devoted follower of Jesus we must put ourselves through self-inflicted suffering. There is nothing further from the truth. Redemptive suffering is our way to take the evil that the world casts upon us and turn to God with our faith. We must thank him for the suffering that Jesus experienced and continue to have faith in him in our most difficult times.
This week we will all experience some level of suffering. Those trails can defeat us and drag us down to reject God and feel that we can do better ourselves, or it can make us stronger and more determined to follow him. Let us “offer it up” and become stronger and more faithful.
The reward of suffering is experience.
~~~Harry S. Truman
To endure the cross is not tragedy; it is the suffering which is the fruit of an exclusive allegiance to Jesus Christ.
Never to suffer would have been never to have been blessed.
~~~Edgar Allan Poe
If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.
~~~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.
Suffering is but another name for the teaching of experience, which is the parent of instruction and the schoolmaster of life.
To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.
Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.
The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths.
Wisdom comes alone through suffering.
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
God has been good to me. My faith has been good to me in the moments of deepest suffering, doubt and fear.
And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you.
~~~1 Peter 5:10
And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.
He was despised and rejected by others;
a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity;
and as one from whom others hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him of no account.
Then Job arose, tore his robe, shaved his head, and fell on the ground and worshipped. He said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’
Surely he has borne our infirmities
and carried our diseases;
yet we accounted him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.
Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord rescues them from them all.
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account
This is my comfort in my distress,
that your promise gives me life.
For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well—
LORD, I pray that you will comfort me in my suffering and allow it to strengthen and teach me. Help me to overcome the pain that I bear this moment and allow me to offer it to you as a part of my faith journey. Let me be tempered as the iron is tempered by the heat of the fire. I will then go forward stronger and more resolved to be your servant.