“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18
What is suffering? Who suffers? What kind of sufferings can we experience? How can we bear up through suffering? These are several things that I want us to take a look at today.
What is suffering? Suffering is defined as the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship. Pain comes in different forms … physical pain from an injury, mental pain, or emotional pain are a few types. Distress is anxiety, sorrow, grief, or heartbreak. Hardship is destitute or deprivation.
Who suffers? All who are in human flesh suffer, do they not? Even Christ, when He was on the earth, suffered (I Peter 4:1). He was even “tempted” (tested) as we are … Hebrews 4:15 “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”
What kind of sufferings can we experience? Well, that is a very loaded question and one which I do not have enough space to cover every single kind. But, I will share some and I am sure that many more will come to your mind that could be added.
Poor health; Loss of a child (in miscarriage, in an accident, or from an illness); Infidelity of a spouse; Rebellious teenager; spouse who does not take the spiritual leadership in your marriage or family; drama-filled families (usually over petty things); financial debt; never having enough income to pay bills; death of a spouse; disillusionment in the church; judgement of others towards you; demanding boss; someone you love distancing themselves from you
How can we bear up through suffering? Well, here are four simple principles that can make a huge difference:
1) Trials come to purge (purify) us of sin — Psalm 66:10-11 “For thou, O God, hast proved us; thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins.”
2) Learn to gain our strength from God Himself — II Corinthians 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in [your] weakness …”
3) Learning from our suffering — I Peter 5:10 “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, and settle you.”
4) Using that experience to be able to help others who are traveling the same road — II Corinthians 1:4 “Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”