September, 2016

“…he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10 ESV).

Suffering's ValuePastorKeith

Christian endurance means living lovingly, joyfully, peacefully and patiently under conditions that we wish were different; many define this as suffering. Suffering is in the mind of the sufferer, and may be conveniently defined as “getting what you do not want while wanting what you do not get.” This definition covers all forms of loss, hurt, pain, grief and weakness—all experiences of rejection, injustice, disappointment, discouragement, frustration and many other forms and formulas we don’t like to face. Suffering in some shape or form is everyone’s lot from earliest days, though some know far more of it than others.

Suffering is specified in Scripture as part of every Christian’s calling, and therefore of mine as much as of anyone else’s. Suffering must be expected, and even valued, by all believers without exception. Suffering is to be expected, and must be prepared for.

The world of course, does not find value in suffering. It has no reason to. But Christians are in a different position, for God’s Word assures us that God sanctifies our suffering to good ends. Our suffering produces character (Rom 5:3). Our suffering glorifies God (2 Cor 12:9-10). And our suffering fulfills the law of the harvest: Before there is blessing anywhere, there will be first suffering somewhere. Jesus first announced this when he declared, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).

As we strive to “live the life” we are called to live unto Jesus, may we contemplate the suffering we may be going through and may it draw us to the Holy One.

In His service,

Keith L. Bagwell