Suffering, Sometimes Essential
“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” Luke 9:22 (ESV)
“Must suffer.” Think about that for just a minute. Jesus said that He Himself must suffer. He didn’t say that He wanted to suffer or that suffering was an option that He was simply choosing. No, Jesus said He must suffer. There was no way around it, no alternative route to avoid it, this was the only pathway for Him to follow. To fulfill His purpose and accomplish God’s will Jesus would have to take the pathway that led to the cross.
This puts the idea of pain and suffering in an entirely new light when we look at our own lives and the trials and tribulations that we ourselves endure. As difficult as it might be to fathom, suffering can be an instrument in which God uses to bring about something wonderful. Sometimes in our life, suffering is essential for God to Work His perfect will in our life. He did it in the gruesome and horrible death of Christ on the cross, bringing about the beauty of salvation. He did it through Christ, and He can do it through our own lives as well.
I suffer from migraine headaches from time to time and it is an ailment I do not wish on anyone. However, because of those migraines, I can empathize quite well with someone else who is suffering from them and perhaps help them as they suffer.
As much as I might hate my migraines they very well could be an essential part to my sanctification, ministry, and purpose God has for my life. You, in your own life, might have suffered or could be suffering through something tremendous right now. The pain, sorrow, and agony inevitably bring the question “Why God?” We look at suffering as something that is worthless, pointless, and meaningless. That our pain has no value and our hardships are nothing more than obstacles in our path to a prosperous and happiness in life. However, God could see those things as essential to His plan in this world to bring people to Himself and glory to His Name.
In the light of eternity, God is working in our lives saying, “I know this all looks terrible now, but on the other side of everything it will all make sense and something greater is coming.” Paul in the eighth chapter of the book of Romans states, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Part of those “all things” are things we suffer through, bring pain, and cause tears of sorrow.
The important truth we have to hold to is that through it all God is with us and working in us. Though we might not understand everything now, though our suffering might be great, it will be a vital element in the great work God wants to do in our life.
Let us then be searching and watching for the lessons and value of our trials and difficulties. Let us look to God for the strength we need to grow in our adversity and let us rely on the Lord to open our eyes to see His purpose for our suffering.