Everything God does in our lives is for our benefit, including suffering. Though they never seem pleasant at the time, hard times produce wonderful benefits in our lives. On Monday I mentioned one benefit—affliction drives us to God’s word. Here are seven more benefits of suffering:
Affliction drives us to God in prayer
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. James 5:13
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. Ps 107:6
When the sun’s shining and everything’s going our way, we don’t feel our need for God. But desperate times lead to desperate prayer. When we’re helpless to change our situation, we cry out to our Savior who delivers us from our distress.
Affliction humbles us
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 2 Cor 12:7
Afflictions remind us of how fragile we are. It keeps us lowly. Reminds us that everything we have is a gift. Pride leads to a fall, but God gives grace to the humble. Affliction positions us to receive grace.
Affliction makes us rely on Christ’s power
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Cor 12:9
When we realize how powerless we are, then Jesus can display his might in our lives. When we’ve exhausted all our own resources, Jesus rides in at just the right moment, like the hero in a movie who comes to rescue someone as the train is bearing down on them.
Affliction brings us the comfort of God himself
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction…. 2 Cor 1:3
As well meaning as others are, there are times when no human words can comfort. But God himself comforts us when we cry out to him in our pain. The God of ALL COMFORT, the one who knows exactly what our broken hearts need, comforts us in ALL our affliction. The One who fashioned our hearts, who knows our every drop of sadness, knows the exact medicine we need to comfort us.
Affliction gives us compassion for others
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Cor 1:3–4
When someone else has been through the same thing, their words can really comfort us. Though your pain is horrific now, someday God will use you to bring his comfort to someone else who suffers the fury of depression or the agony of a child who rebels like yours.
Affliction produces endurance and patience
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance Rom 5:3
The only way to get patience and endurance is by being placed in situations that require it. But it will be worth it in the end, because it is by patiently enduring in faith that we’ll enter heaven.
Affliction reminds us that this world is not our home
For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Heb 13:14
As many blessings as this world has, it’s not our home. Affliction weans us from this world, reminds us how transitory it is, and makes us long for heaven, for that day when we’ll see Jesus face to face and he will personally wipe away every tear from our eyes.
Bless the Lord oh my soul and forget none of his benefits. Especially those benefits he brings us through hard times.
Mark Altrogge has been senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, Pennsylvania, since 1982. He has written hundreds of songs for worship, including “I Stand in Awe” and “I’m Forever Grateful.” Mark and his wife, Kristi, have four sons and one daughter. Find out more on his blog, The Blazing Center.