I came across something I wrote in February 2007 and hope that it will be a blessing to all of you wondering why you may have suffering in your life right now…
Suffering does not greet us as a friend approaching from the distance. Rather, it’s an unexpected and unwanted guest that tends to over stay its welcome. We view it that way until we come to accept it and take our suffering back to God and trust His all-knowing ability. God filters these circumstances into our lives and we treat them as unwanted gifts. The day of sadness and difficulty is also given to us just the same as the day of accomplishment and delight.
God showed me a verse last week that proves He gives suffering as a gift, just as eternal life. Why though? Philippians 1:29 says, “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.”
The reason why is so that we understand Christ, God’s first and most important gift of sacrifice for our sins. After we come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, we can in many ways understand that suffering brings a sacrifice of our internal pride and teaches us to humble ourselves before God. Christ’s humility was that He came from heaven and lived as the sinless man to die for our sins, taking the sins of the entire human race upon Himself, and after rising again assumed His former position in heaven. He left the pomp of majesty to suffer rejection and affliction.
We crunch under the burden of our suffering and can fade into a lifeless depression when that unexpected guest of suffering knocks down the door and makes itself at home. The answer lies within the verse that tells us why suffering comes into the life of a Christian. It is because we first believed God and accepted His Son as our Savior, He wants us to continue believing in Him. If we don’t turn to run far away from the circumstances but instead turn around and bury our face in our Heavenly Father’s shoulder and believe He’s going to bring us through it for Christ’s sake, we will be taking a huge step toward understanding.
Accepting suffering’s presence in our lives will allow us to grow, not instantly, but gradually toward God’s perfecting work in our lives. God does not always allow us to understand why things are happening but generally hindsight allows us to understand the ways He was working and the reasons behind them. Accept it as a gift today on behalf of His Son and in the future of tomorrows He might show you why. Trust and continue to believe on Him because He understands our suffering like no one else can or will. That is why we suffer – for Christ’s sake.