In his book “Surprised By Suffering”, R.C. Sproul says: “. . . suffering is a vocation, a calling from God.”
I’m not sure how I feel about that. Being called upon to suffer is not something to get excited about, not if we look at suffering within the limited vision of pain and misery. Suffering only becomes something to be valued and useful to us in the light of Christ’s suffering; our suffering gains meaning in the light of Christ’s suffering.
Years ago I sensed the Lord trying to get the message of suffering across to me. I did not want to hear that I would have to suffer, but the fact is, if you belong to Christ, you will suffer, one way or another. To pick up our cross is to follow in His footsteps, and the path He walked was rough and rocky, pain-filled, and laden with suffering.
One thing suffering does fairly quickly is to get our eyes off of this world, to lessen our love for this world and begin to look forward to heaven. If we were given “heaven on earth” we’d have no desire to ever leave this place. Suffering lifts our eyes heavenward, to desire something better than this present world.
I don’t know what you might be suffering right now. You may be enduring one of the worst periods of suffering in your life. I encourage you to look toward Jesus, consider how much He endured, and place your suffering in the light of what our Lord endured for us.
It would be nice (we think), to never have to suffer, to never know pain and hardship, but whether we want to admit it or not, suffering changes us, it enables us to set our priorities correctly, and it causes us to look to, and call upon God for help.
Call upon God to help you through your times of suffering, and know that He is with you no matter what you are going through.
Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to stand strong in Your Spirit no matter what suffering comes our way. Amen.
About The Author
Karlton Douglas lives in Ohio with his lovely wife. He has suffered many years from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Crohn’s Disease, and has found God’s grace in the midst of suffering.