Archive for February, 2011

Are you undergoing some manner of suffering right now?  Or perhaps you know someone who is in a difficult place in life.  If you find this helpful, would you pass it along to several others?

 The following is a quote from Henry Blackaby, in his book Spiritual Leadership that relates to suffering and gives us a healthy perspective in the midst of it:

 The fact that God can bring character development and personal growth out of any situation is conditional on people’s willingness to submit to God’s will.  God is sovereign over every life, but those who yield their will to him will be shaped according to his purposes. 

When God directs a life for his purposes, all of life is a school.  No experience, good or bad, is ever wasted (Rom. 8:28).  God doesn’t squander people’s time.  He doesn’t ignore pain.  He brings not only healing but growth out of even the worst experiences.[1]

 I was also reading in Colossians 1 this morning and was very encouraged by the Apostle Paul’s attitude in so much of his own suffering (to see examples of that suffering, read 2 Cor. 1, 4, 6, 11-12).

 Paul certainly understood Blackaby’s point that God uses suffering to make us more like Jesus, but Paul gives us one more additional and critical insight into the purposes of suffering: God uses suffering so that we can be His encouragement to others.

 Here is what Paul says in Col. 1:24: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.”

Did you notice what Paul said about his own suffering?  He chose to rejoice in the midst of it, knowing the larger purpose: for the sake of others and for Jesus.  It’s when we get our eyes off of ourselves and on to others that suffering makes sense.

I will be the first to admit that this is not easy, but through the grace that God supplies to us, may He help us – like Paul – to choose to rejoice in the midst of our sufferings, knowing that indeed, God makes perfect use of all we go through – if He has our cooperation!

[1] Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby, Spiritual Leadership (Nashville: TN, B & H Publishing Group, 2001), 43.


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