Webster’s dictionary can put it down into words, but many of us have to feel it. Suffering comes into your home like a long lost relative & stays much longer than you would like.
I have had six major surgeries, including quadruple by-pass. In each case the doctors commented on my positive attitude. Apparently, while a heart surgeon was putting in a pace maker into my chest, I was telling jokes & making him laugh. Don’t try that at home! You want your doctor to have a steady h&!
Are there any positive outcomes from going through suffering? Let me share some thoughts that may suggest that there are:
- Suffering helps keep us from being conceited. We often take life for granted. We feel we do not need God because everything is going smoothly. We don’t think we need to read the Bible, or pray each day. It often takes a serious amount of suffering to get us to our knees to reach out to God. (Isn’t it funny how we live life as if it will go on forever?)
- Suffering makes us stronger. Each time I went to the operating table, I prayed for God’s protection. Each time I felt a stronger love flowing through me than I had before. Through that love I also became stronger. Through that love I had the reassurance that God was there holding my h&. (Isn’t it funny that we think God doesn’t care, but He is always there for us?)
- Suffering gives us a testimony. This has been the most important thing in my life. I wouldn’t have had much of a story to tell my non-Christian friends, if I didn’t have each of the surgeries I had to go through. Because of my constant positive attitude people have asked me why I felt so upbeat after having gone through such a trail. That opened a door for me, & it was very easy to give a testimony. All I had to do is tell my story about how God protected me, & how I wouldn’t have made it without Him. I didn’t have to tell my friends they were going to hell if they didn’t get down on their knees right there & pray.They left with a new outlook. I hope some thought that they wanted to have that same positive attitude through-out their own ordeals, & turned to God to find it. The suffering has also let me be a friend with other Christians who are going through the same pain & agony. If they have someone there that has been there & done that, they can feel the support. They know that you really know what they are going through. (Isn’t it funny that we complain about a cold, when Jesus healed people that were blind & already dead?)
- Most importantly, suffering helps me underst& what Jesus went through. My pain & suffering doesn’t even scratch the surface of pain that Jesus went through. I can’t imagine the pain from the terrible beatings, the nails, the thorns, & the sword in the side. He could have stopped it at any time. But He was the son of man, & He wanted to do it to help us through our own sufferings. He wanted to give us eternal life. (Isn’t funny that we fear telling others about Christ, but He knows every hair on our head, & prays for us?)
When pain & suffering enter your life, keep your eyes on Jesus. He knows the hurts you are going through. He has been there in human flesh. He may not stop the storm, but He will help calm it. Try to use your suffering to help others that may not know God, & by doing that, you may help them into the Kingdom.
Doug Bolton is a speaker, freelance writer, & author of: Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World, coming out in the fall. Feel free to contact him with your thoughts on either of his web sites or through my email. He says, “I would love to hear from you. You can also read excerpts from my book at the blog site.” His sites are as follows: Doug Bolton’s author web site | Doug Bolton’s Blog, “Daily Signs of Hope” | Doug’s email