Suffering is a universal human experience. It is an inevitable terrain of life, an experience we cannot fully ignore or avoid.
The Bible confirms over and over again that our suffering is a season that will one day end. The hope of Christ is not just the light at the end of the tunnel. It is the light in the tunnel. Meanwhile, it is the process by which Christ will “perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish” His people.
Suffering is a tool in God’s hand. It helps us develop the character of a faithful witness, to establish trust in a God greater than our circumstances, and to bond us in intimacy with Him and with one another.
The biggest temptation we face in suffering is to allow Satan permission to devour us. We often respond to suffering by inflicting more suffering upon ourselves or others. Pain is a circumstance that God uses to develop us, to teach us, and empower us to steward wisely. When we treat it or approach it as anything else, we will often magnify pain unnecessarily. We do this by trying to deny our hurt or by trying to avoid it. But the only way to heal faster is to face our sorrow with courage.
Satan is looking to devour believers. He is looking to take our pain and use it as a catalyst for self-destruction. God is looking to teach us through our pain, to confirm and establish us. The choice of how to treat our pain and to whom we surrender its power is up to each of us.
“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”
– 1 Peter 5:8-10