Learning Through Suffering

Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. - Romans 8:17

Like many other Christians, my parents thought that if they honored God and dedicated their children to the Lord, they’d somehow be shielded from pain, suffering, and life’s difficult realities. Learning that their son—my brother Jerry—was dying of AIDS helped them to see that this belief was false.

My parents wrestled not only with losing Jerry but also with their own feelings of guilt. They wondered what they could’ve done differently to keep their son from a homosexual lifestyle. Sorrow and regret consumed them.

Yet God used that terrible incident to mold and deepen my parents’ faith. Suffering brought them face-to-face with change they’d never anticipated. It was in that dark and painful crucible that my parents learned about compassion, courage, forgiveness, and repentance. Their hearts were truly broken, but they were also truly changed. 

You, too, can and should learn from suffering. Don’t be angered by it. Don’t come out the other side a bitter person.  Look at your suffering as an intimacy with Christ—a time to sense his love and compassion, and to grow to trust Him and grow closer to Him.

“Complete success alienates a man from his fellows, but suffering makes kinsmen of us all.” Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915)

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Taken from The Life Recovery Devotional: Thirty Meditations from Scripture for Each Step in Recovery by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Copyright © 1991 by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.