The Upside of Pain and Suffering

Nena Arias | August 23, 2021

“Count it all joy… when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”
(James 1:2-3)

Is there an upside to pain and suffering? Can suffering actually be a good thing? The outcome of suffering depends on through whose eyes we are viewing pain and suffering. Believe it or not, suffering can make us more resilient and better able to withstand hardships when we see it from God’s perspective. Think about it like the “muscle of life”. We all know that a muscle needs a workout or continued use to be built up and in good shape. Suffering is our workout to make us stronger and not easily defeated in the challenges of life.

No one is exempt from suffering in life. So, if suffering is inevitable, why not learn what the real purpose is and how to face it? Suffering is one of the best life teachers there is. Not that we enjoy it, and we would certainly not want to repeat the painful experiences but certainly learn from them. Lessons well learned through suffering will stay with us for the rest of our lives and we can even pass on the wisdom and richness we learned. James 1:2-4 says, “Count it all joy… when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Clearly, tastings and difficulties in life not only improve us but transform us into better people.

Some of the enduring benefits of suffering are stated in Romans 5:3-5 says, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

As you can see, it is unbiblical to teach that a true Christian ought not to suffer. When suffering is viewed through God’s lens, we arrive at producing good character, endurance and hope and true hope will never disappoint. We will never be let down by hope when it is based on what God promises tells us because he does not know how to fail.

Suffering must come to all, but it is a better thing to have trouble and know how to get grace enough to bear it. God tells us his grace is sufficient no matter what.

Always remember you are not alone even though you may feel like you are. Not only is the Lord with you but know that many other believers are contending for the faith until death. Thousands and millions are praying for you to make it through your trials and tribulations. Suffering and trouble enable us to lay hold of the greater gifts of God, like his fellowship, comfort, and love, which grow sweeter and more meaningful over time.

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