THE SECRET OF SUFFERING
We're all familiar with the cliché "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." But for many of us that phrase is incomplete. It should continue, "the tough get going in the opposite direction!" So often we retreat from the tough times and question the plan of a God who would allow us to experience pain. But He is neither a wasteful Father, nor a cruel one. Suffering presents us with a personal challenge: we can either use our suffering as a bridge in building relationships with others, or we can view it as a wall that separates us from those around us. The choice is ours.
James writes that suffering is actually productive. It produces endurance in us by stretching our faith. Paul adds that it makes us useful to others, because the God of all comfort "comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." (II Corinthians 1:4)
Maybe like Joseph, you are in the pit. Maybe you're waiting in a dark, windowless place of suffering. Perhaps your personal "pit" is so deep and dark that it has caused you to question the very existence of God. If so, take heart in this basic biblical principle: those whom God would greatly use and bless will always experience a time of suffering. It is not possible to be used significantly by God in any area of endeavor without suffering. You don't have to consider the suffering itself joy…but joy will be the end of what God will do with it if you trust Him.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
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