Thursday, January 28, 2010


I don't like to suffer. I don't even like to think about suffering. I certainly don't equate some of the things through which I have to go with anything I see on the news in places like Haiti or Afghanistan.

But I do suffer. Suffer in all sorts of ways, physically, emotionally, spiritually. Just like you suffer too.

How then should we respond? How should we understand what's happening to us?

I was reading Henry Blackaby's devotional yesterday and it was all about the role of suffering. He contends that there are somethings that God wants to build into your life that he can only do through the process of suffering. Personally, I know that suffering is the only route to patience and many times to grace.

There is a positive aspect to suffering. We all endure suffering to some degree, but the good news is that through it we can become like Jesus. Are you willing to pay whatever price is necessary in order to become like Christ? There are some things that God can build into your life only through suffering. Even Jesus, the sinless Son of God, was complete only after He had endured the suffering His Father had set before Him. Once He had suffered, He was the complete, mature, and perfect Savior through whom an entire world could find salvation.

But it's that little phrase, tucked away in this paragraph that gets me and drags me to my knees with more questions about me and spiritual character than it does about the causes and effects of any suffering through which I walk.

Are you willing to pay whatever price is necessary in order to become like Christ?

Am I that willing? Fortunately we live life one step at a time. The measure of our suffering is rarely revealed to us ahead of time, although often afterwards we can see the hand of God preparing us before the suffering comes.

Let's give Blackaby's devotional the last word:

Don’t resent the suffering God allows in your life. Don’t make all your decisions and invest everything you have into avoiding hardship. God did not spare His own Son. How can we expect Him to spare us? Learn obedience even when it hurts!

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