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Learning to Suffer Well

Praise God, Be the Church, Abide in Christ

We don’t talk about suffering much in our society – or in our churches.  It’s uncomfortable, and we love comfort. Some of us are ok with being stretched a little and pushed out of our comfort zone- we know that’s where we grow. But suffering? No thanks.

But the reality we live in is that suffering is a part of life. The Bible is clear about this, even if we haven’t heard it in church.  In John 16:33, Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble (suffer, face affliction), but take heart, I have overcome the world.” In fact, there are numerous verses that talk about suffering. (1 Peter 4:12-13, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Romans 5:1-5, Romans 8:35-39 are just a few.)

My favorite passage about suffering in found in Hebrews 5:7-10. Verse 8, talking about Jesus, it says, “Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered…” If Jesus needed to learn obedience through what He suffered, how much more do you and I? So in the midst of suffering, how can we learn obedience?  Spend time in prayer and ask God these 2 questions.

  1. Is there any area I need to repent and obey? (Remember that the Holy Spirit is specific – He’ll bring something to mind – He doesn’t ever give us a general feeling of guilt without a specific thing to address.) Obey in the areas He brings to your attention.
  2. What do You want to teach me through this?

I’ve found when the suffering I endure serves a purpose, it is much easier to be joyful in the midst of it. My prayer is that this season of suffering causes us to become more and more the people that God wants us to be.