Suffering is an unavoidable part of life. Everyone experiences it in some capacity.
For some of us, it might be for only a season like the loss of a job or the end of a relationship. For others, suffering might be a daily part of life caused by physical or mental health issues.
Suffering is never wanted by anyone, yet the Bible says to “count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,” (James 1:2, ESV).
Why should we be joyful when facing a trial? How can we have joy when we experience deep suffering?
Because suffering is a wonderful gift from God to strengthen our faith.
This is not to deny the gut-wrenching heartbreak that can come from a broken relationship, cancer diagnosis or loss of a loved one. What the Bible is saying is that in the middle of those trials, we can rejoice that the Lord is building our faith.
God does not waste a moment of our suffering. He uses it to deepen our trust and reliance on Him.
There have been times in my life when my suffering was so deep that I was unable to be comforted by those around me. Not that my friends and family did not try. They prayed over me and cried and mourned with me.
It was simply that my pain was too deep for any human to touch. I needed the great comfort that can only come from my Heavenly Father.
It was in prayer and the study of Scripture that I found this great comfort. It did not remove the suffering but made it bearable.
I did not understand why I was going through the trial, but I believed that God was going to use my suffering to strengthen my faith and bring me closer to Him.
We are to be joyful in our trials because the suffering we experience is ultimately for our good. When we find ourselves on the other side of our trial, we can look back and observe how much stronger and unmovable our faith in God is.
And then, when life brings more suffering, we can walk through it with unshakeable faith, knowing that the God who held our hand through other trials is holding our hand now. We will have our faith tested, and when we turn to God in those times of testing, we will find a stronger faith in the end.
Whether you are experiencing grief from the loss of a loved one or miscarriage or stress from the loss of a job or financial hardship, the Lord is working in your suffering.
Maybe you are battling depression and anxiety. God sees your suffering and is by your side in your darkest moments.
Maybe you have been betrayed by friends and family because of your trial. God will never leave you in your suffering.
Rejoice in your suffering, because it is a wonderful gift from God.