Suffering is a part of life. If you don’t believe that, then I steer you directly to the book of James. Right off the bat, the Lord tells us there that trials are a part of life and trials, by definition involve suffering. Not necessarily grievous suffering, but some level of suffering.
I am grateful that God tells us that trials will come and then… in His amazing mercy and love…. He tells us why.
Consider it all joy, my bretheren, when you encounter various trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Trials involve suffering.
Trials involve the testing of our faith.
Trials bring endurance.
Endurance brings wisdom.
Endurance brings maturity.
Endurance brings glory to God.
I have been blessed to have experienced some major suffering. No, thankfully, I have not faced the suffering of physical attack or abuse due to my faith. Suffering includes not just that though.
I have experienced the following kinds of suffering:
- depressive episodes that would overwhelm me
- suicidal thoughts that would bombard me
- the loss of my mama
- near death experience twice for my youngest son
- having a loved one sexually abused
- date rape
- the divorce of my parents
- loss of a life plan/job plan
- marriage difficulty
Those aren’t all, of course, just some of the major ones.
I have also experienced the following kinds of suffering specifically for my faith and walk with God:
- tearing down of my reputation
- have been told that I have an evil “spirit”
- public shunning
- verbal abuse
- mean girls/women
Your list may not look much different. Or it may look strikingly different.
Both of these lists took their toll on me. Some, I experienced while a Believer and some while I wasn’t. None of these have been easy. None. I would say that nearly all of them have changed me, taught me, shaped me. Some of them, in not so great ways. Others in amazingly wonderful ways.
Yesterday, I had an interview with my pastor as part of my Level I IBCD Certification. Something that he said stuck with me.
I’m encouraged because the last few trials that you share, I can see that you have suffered well.
Wow. What a beautiful way to put the intended goal coupled with the acknowledgment of the pain.
It is because of the Lord’s work in my life, on my heart, and in my mind that I can suffer well now. I certainly haven’t always. And I will certainly admit that while I suffered well in the big picture of the big trial, each day wasn’t always a suffering well day.
I give Him all the glory for the incredible ways the last two major trials have grown me. He had equipped me to suffer well.
Suffering can’t be avoided. It’s a part of life. God has purpose in it for us: maturity and wisdom.
To receive these gifts, we need to suffer well through a trial. Keeping our eyes focused on Christ and the knowledge that God does not leave us or forsake us.
Suffering well doesn’t mean putting on a front and keeping your chin up. It’s more about the mindset and heart attitude about the suffering. I’ve seen women walk with chin up, but heart bristled and bitter. Not suffering well.
It is about being changed for better, more like Christ, towards maturity in Him, submission to the Spirit… when it’s happening and when it’s over.
I want my children to suffer well.
I want my husband to suffer well.
I want my friends to suffer well.
I want my church family to suffer well.
I want this little ole me to suffer well.
I most struggle in suffering well in the small things. Sigh.
The little trials of a day that trip me, my plan, or my ideas up.
A child that takes for.ev.er with math lessons, knocking us back in our schedule.
A husband that doesn’t see the amazingness in my ideas, knocking me back in pride.
A friend that decides to no longer engage in my life, knocking me back in my people pleasing struggle.
I am challenged today to remember that My Awesome God wants me to endure big trials well when they come, but that He also wants me to endure through all of the little trials that are a part of mothering, parenting, friendship-ing, any other kind of relationship-ing, and basic over all life-ing here on Not Heaven Yet.
May James 1:2-4 speak to my heart every day, when I think I am in a trial or when I think I’m not.
I want to suffer well.
Maturity and wisdom are beautiful. Glorifying God even more so.
They are worthy suffering. Let’s do it well.
Do you suffer well?