Weekly Newsletter

Pastor David’s Weekly Devotional
     Suffering can be a precious gift from God.  That statement can be difficult to hear, and even more difficult to believe.  Yet, we find in Scripture that God not only ordains human suffering but also has a divine purpose in it.  More specifically, God’s Word teaches us that there are many Christian blessings associated with suffering.  To be sure, these blessings are not always readily evident or easily understood, but they are nonetheless taught in God’s Word and ought to be embraced by every Christian.  These biblical truths can guide us through, and protect us in the midst of, various trials and sufferings we face in this life.  While we do not have perfect foresight, we do have God’s Word as “a lamp to [our] feet and a light to [our] path[s]” (see Ps.119:105).  Like a lighthouse, these truths can guide us through the storms of life and keep us from being dashed against the rocks of suffering.

     Charles Spurgeon said: “They who dive in the sea of affliction bring up rare pearls.”  A study of God’s Word reveals many such “rare pearls.”  Here are twelve biblical blessings that come from suffering:

1.   Suffering can humble us
     Although these are in no particular order of importance, the blessing of humility may be the most important.  For without humility, it could be argued, none of the other blessings would actually be realized.  God can, and will, use trials in our lives in order to keep us from becoming conceited and to humble us if we are being haughty (see 2Cor.12:7-10).  Humility is a blessing from God because it enables us to see truth – who we really are and who God really is. 

     Pride, on the other hand, is a skewed view of reality.  The prideful person thinks of themselves too highly and others too lowly.  Worse still, the prideful person has a false (small) view of God, and tends to think (to whatever degree) that they do not need God or can act independent from God.  Suffering can bring us back to reality and make us more like Jesus Christ (see Phil.2:3-8; Jms.4:8-10).  True humility recognizes that we owe everything to God, and that God owes us nothing; that He is the Creator, and we are His creation; that He is the potter, and we are the clay.

2.   Suffering can mature us
     The expression “no pain, no gain” is true physically and spiritually.  In the same way physical pain is associated with exercising to make one strong and fit, so too the exercise of sufferings and trials can make one spiritually strong and mature.  Robert Murrey McCheyne, a Scottish minister of the 19th century, said, “There is a great want about all Christians who have not suffered.  Some flowers must be broken or bruised before they emit any fragrance.”

     God permits and provides trials in our lives in order that our perseverance may be perfected so we can endure more trials until we have become a complete and mature person in Christ (see Rom.5:3-4; Jms.1:2-4; 1Pet.1:6-7).  The Christian can rejoice in suffering because they realize the maturity that can come as a result of suffering.  Like the pain of being sore after a physical workout, the Christian can rightly and joyfully view the pain of suffering as the means of growing spiritually stronger and more mature in Christ.

(continued, Lord willing, next week)

Together in and for Christ,
Pastor David

Scripture Readings for the Week (Monday – Sunday ~ Week #35):
Numbers 9-12; 1Chronicles 15-19; Psalms 102-104; Proverbs 20-21; Hosea 8-14; John 10-12; 2Timothy 1-2
Recommended Reading:
“God’s Grace in Your Suffering” by David Powlison

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