April 23, 2014
As human beings, we will all experience suffering during our lifetime. The sinner suffers because of sin in general and because of his own personal sin. The effects of sin’s sufferings on his life lead only to a bitter end.
The child of God also suffers from original sin in the world, but not from his personal sins because they have been forgiven and blotted out by God. The sufferings that he experiences after conversion are used by God for his personal refinement to bring him into a more perfect state. The Apostle Peter said in First 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, settle you.” Sometimes it takes a trial of suffering in our lives to bring us to a place that God desires us to be. After we have suffered awhile God will then use that to perfect, establishes, and (spiritually) strengthens us. Although, as a child of God we will not completely escape all suffering, we can learn to let it have a positive effect on our lives to make us a better person and a greater witness for God.
One example of suffering for personal refinement which is designed to make us better is what I have recently experienced. I went through surgery recently to correct a defect that could prove determinate otherwise if I had not eventually had corrective surgery. Yes, the surgery hurt for a few weeks but the outcome put me in a better position physically than what I was in before. The old saying, “No pain, no gain” is often true.
It is true that God is love, but sometimes His love is revealed in strange ways. He knows what is best for us and He sometimes allows us a season of pain which will work for our greater good later on. In His wisdom, God oftentimes withholds the reason for our suffering until later. The reason for this is to test our loyalty and faith in Him. We can then look back on it in retrospect and see the hand of God upon us and how He carried us through our trial.
Many are familiar with the famous story of the footsteps in the sand. When the one suffering though he was walking all alone in his despire, he cried out to God for consolation. God informed him that the single trail of footprints in the sand was made by God as he carried the weak one along the way. When we can see God’s hand at work in our lives in such a manner we can take heart and rejoice that God was with us and was working all things after the council of His divine will for our good.