“You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.”
— Mary Tyler Moore
Too often, during periods of suffering, we feel there is no benefit to the cursing we’ve been asked by God to endure. There seems no hope to an end to it, and no hope for eventual benefit.
But as we cast an honest eye back to the suffering that was endured hope-fully, we see the benefit in how it germinated, and afterwards we notice the ripened fruit—fully grown character benefits—emergent from the seed of suffering.
If not for suffering there’d be no real growth; no transformation of character in terms of Christ-likeness. At the very least we’re gifted bravery.
What God does through our suffering is he creates an account—like a banking account, but also like a record of investment.
God is testing and sifting us, through our circumstances, to see if we want a better, more abundant life; for, without our desiring such a blessing, it will not be granted to us.
God is not sadistic in this way, as our humanity is likely to accuse.
God is giving us the opportunity at further sanctification—for only by faith to venture humbly with our God will we be reckoned as righteous, as Abraham was.
Considering Suffering As an Investment
The test of our spiritual maturity, in suffering, is this: will we submit, as cheerfully as we can, in the midst of mental, emotional, and/or spiritual torment, for the greater good of our ultimate growth?
God is turning all things toward those who truly love him by their devotion to invest by walking humbly.
That’s faith: to hold to an invisible certainty; to believe in a thing which cannot yet be seen, but we know, by faith, it is coming.
Great is our hope when we experience joy for the blessings to come in the situation of our suffering now. That hope waters our faith and our faith will be vindicated.
The Shining and Future Blessing for Having Suffered
Due God’s righteous justice there is always a pay-off for faith-held suffering; for having dealt with the blows of life in faith, by holding on to hope.
The blessings of God’s justice in this way are both shining and future-fixed. They are blessings of abundance, and all the more impressive as we look back on our faithfulness to rely on God at such a horrible time.
Great is our hope when we experience joy for the blessings to come in the situation of our suffering now. One real blessing is a greater grasp on authentic bravery. Through suffering we become more real, more courageous, and more reachable.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.