Your Suffering Is Never Wasted (Romans 5:3-4)
By: Betsy St. Amant Haddox
I used to read verses like Romans 5:3-4 and squirm in my seat. I wanted to believe and experience those promises, but at the same time, deep down in my heart, I was afraid that suffering wasn’t quite worth it after all.
I also was confused about the true definition of suffering. I assumed it had to be something huge and life-changing to even “count”, and who wanted to think about things like that? I tended to avoid verses like those instead, and just hope that the Lord would “take it easy on me.”
Today, I realize that suffering counts in a lot of different ways. According to the dictionary, suffering is defined as: the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship.
In some seasons of our lives, this could mean a big event, loss, or grief. But most of the time, it looks a lot more like daily frustrations and trials. Suffering is persecution for your faith, but it’s also a struggling bank account. It’s chronic illness and it’s a temporary sinus infection. It’s losing someone we love to death, and it’s losing someone we love to a fight or conflict.
Don’t write off the smaller hard things in your life. Choose to apply Biblical wisdom to those, too, because it’s all for a purpose. Ultimately, it’s for our good and God’s glory.
If you view a minor hardship in your life through the lens of Romans 5:3-4, everything changes. You gain more patience. You think “this really annoying case of hives that won’t clear up is a form of suffering”, and instead of being frustrated, you pray and see opportunities to let it produce endurance in your life. Instead of dismissing that misunderstanding with a friend, you can see it as a chance to glean character from suffering. Instead of being upset over being mocked for your beliefs, you realize it will bring about fresh hope in your faith.
This view changes everything!
Of course, the same principles apply to the bigger storms we experience, as well. None of those hard things are wasted. Consider what the psalmist said in Psalm 119.
Psalm 119:67 (ESV) Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word.
And just a few verses later…
Psalm 119:71 (ESV) It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.
I got to experience this truth firsthand after an unwanted divorce. My relationship with God after that season in my life was never the same—it was better. Bigger. Deeper. More real and sustainable. Before I was afflicted by this particular suffering, I went astray. I veered from God. I was apathetic. I was a Christian, but I’d never needed God the way I did after I was abandoned and rejected by my husband.
It was good for me to go through that, because I saw God’s Word in a different light. I learned His statues, I kept His word, because I needed it to survive. My affliction wasn’t wasted, and neither is yours.
Whether you’re dealing with something big or small in the suffering department today, suffer well. Don’t give up. Let it produce endurance, character, and hope in your life. God’s promises are true, and it will be worth it.
Betsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of more than fifteen inspirational romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her hero of a hubby, two total-opposite young daughters, a vast collection of coffee mugs, and an impressive stash of Pickle chips. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored in Christ. When she’s not sweating it out at Camp Gladiator or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha—no whip. Look for her upcoming novel with Revell, Tacos for Two, in October. Visit her at http://www.betsystamant.com.
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