“It was good for me to be afflicted
so that I might learn your decrees.
Psalm 119:71 (NIV)
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness.’
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
Sally was a fellow cancer patient who was also a wonderful Christian wife and mother. The particular cancer she was fighting was the same as the cancer that took her mother when she was 12 years old. She was putting up a great fight, but it seemed she was losing the battle.
On my last visit she asked me if I thought she would win the war against this dreaded disease. I told her I hoped she would beat it and that I was praying she would, but I did not know the answer to her question. She did not want to see me again and I respected her wishes.
When suffering and misery come our way, we need to find ways to use it for our own benefit and that of others. For example, the Psalmist says in the verse above that he learned the teaching of Scripture much better when afflicted that when suffering did not travel with him.
Suffering offers us the opportunity to demonstrate God’s amazing grace as Paul tells us. Sadly most of us would rather sing the hymn by John Newton, Amazing Grace than demonstrate how amazing that grace is by suffering.
I urge people to pray and ask the Lord to take away their suffering but often mention that our Lord prayed that the cup might pass but instead “in one tremendous draft He drank damnation dry” (Quote of C. H. Spurgeon). Eternal good came from our Lord’s suffering and as the unconverted watch how we endure suffering it may cause some to seek the Lord for themselves. Many believers have told me that they have had wonderful opportunities to witness to room mates in hospital, even to pray with them.
How are you using your suffering today? Who has blessed you as you have watched them patiently endure sorrow? If you are wasting your suffering, ask the Lord to provide you with opportunities to demonstrate just how amazing God’s grace really is.