The blessing of suffering

by: Carole L. Haines
I was struck by a statement that a pastor said as I listened to his sermon this morning.
“Don’t miss the blessing of your suffering!”
Ryan Blaylock  (Mosaic Church, Elkridge, MD)
I don’t think I have ever thought of suffering as a blessing before. God has shown me that great good comes out of our suffering as we yield to His purposes, but the idea of missing the blessing of my suffering had never occurred to me.

“35 Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.

37 For yet in a very little while,
He who is coming will come, and will not delay.
38 But My righteous one will live by faith;
And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.

39 But we are not among those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith for the safekeeping of the soul.” (Hebrews 10:35-39)

Each of us have stories of suffering, storms we have weathered. No one escapes this world unscathed from suffering. We, as parents, would love to protect our children from any harm. We keep them as safe as we can, but the world seeps in, and in time we find we are walking through suffering with our child, teaching them how to overcome, to endure, to triumph through Christ amid the storms which are inevitable is this world. There is a verse about suffering that always takes me by surprise.

In the days of His humanity, He offered up both prayers and pleas with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His devout behavior. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey Him.” (Hebrews 5:7-9)

Jesus was perfect, but while in the flesh, he learned obedience from the things that He suffered. He never failed, but He knows suffering. In Isaiah 53, we are introduced to Jesus before he walks the earth.

He has no stately form or majesty
That we would look at Him,
Nor an appearance that we would take pleasure in Him.
He was despised and abandoned by men,
A man of great pain and familiar with sickness;
And like one from whom people hide their faces,
He was despised, and we had no regard for Him.

However, it was our sicknesses that He Himself bore,
And our pains that He carried;
Yet we ourselves assumed that He had been afflicted,
Struck down by God, and humiliated.
But He was pierced for our offenses,
He was crushed for our wrongdoings;
The punishment for our well-being was laid upon Him,
And by His wounds we are healed.
All of us, like sheep, have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the wrongdoing of us all
To fall on Him. (Isaiah 53:2b-6)

Jesus experienced unspeakable suffering by enduring our sins, carrying our sorrows, receiving our punishment in His own body on the cross. The only sin Jesus ever knew was our sin, he never had any of His own. But He allowed Himself to be saturated in our sins to provide the way for us to be saved from them.

So Yes, please, don’t miss the blessing of your sufferings, which Jesus bore for you on the cross. May the suffering we endure make us more and more like Jesus, as we endure, and grow in Him.

There just are no words deep enough
to thank you for all you have done and still do for us. Such love is beyond belief. Yet, I believe You, Jesus. I trust You, Jesus, that you have taken my suffering upon yourself, and by Your suffering, I am healed. Thank You, Dearest King. I’m forever grateful to You. Amen!

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