Guidelines International Ministries

April 27, 2022

This Is What You Can Gain From Suffering

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps. 1 Peter 2:21

In his book, Why Us? Warren Wiersbe tells of visiting a dear friend whose world had come apart.  Her husband had gone blind, and then her health failed.  As she struggled with an incurable disease, followed by a stroke that caused her to give up employment, she was forced to remain at home caring for her husband when she actually needed care herself.

In a conversation with her, Wiersbe said what we often say to people, at times without a great deal of thought, “I want you to know that we’re praying for you!”

“I appreciate that,” she replied and then said, “What are you praying for God to do?”  “As she waited for my reply,” says Wiersbe, “I found myself struggling for a mature answer.  I had never really been confronted with that question before!”  He explained that he was praying for the Lord to restore her health and provide comfort and help.

Then she said, “Thank you, but please pray for one more request.  Pray that I won’t waste all of this suffering.”  What a remarkable person – pray that suffering won’t be wasted.

That dear woman had already come to understand something which many people never grasp — suffering is an investment which God makes in our life because He trusts us enough to allow us to face the dark hours of the soul.

Can suffering be wasted?  Of course!  Job’s wife even suggested that he curse God and die!  What a waste!  Most people profit little from the investment of suffering, yet others capitalize on it and receive great gain.

I’m thinking of some of you who have written to tell how you have reaped rich dividends from suffering.  May I share a few lines from some of those letters?

“Lately I’ve been going through some hard times.  I heard your broadcast which said every bit of suffering will either draw you away from God or draw you closer.  In my case, it has drawn me closer.  I don’t like it [suffering], but I still end up thanking God because the closeness [with Him] is what I’ve always wanted.”

A woman whose world collapsed to the point that five times she tried unsuccessfully to end her life, experienced the deep dividends from suffering.  She wrote, “I’ve been telling all who would listen that my illness had been allowed to happen so I would be brought close to God, and even then I didn’t fully realize that Christ, whom I had known and loved as a little girl, would be such a real and utterly fantastic part of being brought to God.”

Another person who was injured in a sports accident which confined the normally active person to a sickbed, wrote, “Friends who come to visit ask why I am so cheerful.”  He explained, “I can’t see any reason for being sad.  I might not be happy that I have to be in bed, but I have a deep joy that even I marvel about.  I know and love the God who loves and cares for me and shows it…”

When we pray about needs, we always pray to be delivered from the pain of suffering, from the loneliness of estrangement, from the vale of bereavement; yet when we pass through the valley there is gain, and when we walk through the dark night, we sense the presence of Him who said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you!”

When you face the hour of trouble, why not pray, “God grant that this will not be wasted in my life. Give me a teachable spirit and stay close to me that the investment of your presence will not be lost.”  Suffering can bring great gain! It can bring you all that closer to the God who loves you.

 

Resource reading: 1 Peter 4: 7-19