For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
(1 Peter 3:17
Yesterday we noted that suffering is universal and affects believers and nonbelievers alike. Jesus said, In this world, you will have trouble…
) We can no more escape suffering that we can escape air, sunshine, or darkness, but as previously mentioned, suffering can be a blessing when viewed with a deeper perspective. Today, allow me to share two other benefits
It brings us closer to God. The very best lessons I’ve ever learned in life have been a result of pain or suffering. Frank Laubach wrote, “God cannot get close when everything is delightful. He seems to need these darker hours, these empty-hearted hours to mean the most to people.”(1) True, indeed.
We learn to appreciate the absence of suffering. One doesn't learn how to appreciate abundance if he’s never experienced deprivation. We don't appreciate our health until we've known the dregs of sickness. Until we’ve experienced rejection we don’t truly know how and why to extend unconditional love. There’s much learn from our pain, and most of it is beneficial. Never waste your pain.
On a plaque in a hospital in New York, are these words, entitled “A Creed for Those Who’ve Suffered.”
I asked God for strength that I might achieve;
I was made weak that I might learn to obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy;
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life;
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I am, among all men, richly blessed.
My prayers were answered. (Author unknown)
(1) Letters By A Modern Mystic, Frank C. Laubach, Fleming H. Revell, 1937, p. 49.