Thursday, February 25, 2010

Is Suffering Always Bad?

I don’t think so.  Suffering is bad when we get nothing from it, when we learn nothing from it, and when we are unable to use our suffering for our benefit or the benefit of others.  But suffering that leads to God is actually GOOD suffering.
I can hear the sneers now.  Really?  You really think that suffering can be good?  My answer to that is…absolutely!
A family was torn apart by infidelity.  The track that the parents in this family was on was not one that led to God.  It led to selfishness and greed.  When the divorce was final, one parent decided that seeking God was the thing to do.  The children were then raised in a much more godly environment, which led to much more godly marriages for them and lives full of the Holy Spirit.
Not enough suffering there? Okay, a single lady LONGS for a godly marriage.  While still single, her focus is on God and knowing Him more intimately.  She has served the Lord by educating and loving the children of missionaries in Africa, and by leading His people to more healthy and fulfilling lives here in America.  Does she suffer?  Every day.  Is her suffering in vain?  Absolutely not!  Her relationship with God is one that most people only wish they could imagine!
A young couple faced the unthinkable.  After being married only two years, cancer struck the husband.  He also had a stroke due to the type of cancer he had and was forced to push himself through over a year of rehabilitation just to be able to speak and to walk.  Another side effect of his cancer left them without the ability to have children.  This suffering was and still is tremendous for both of them.  Is it necessarily bad?  Well, the couple has begun the process of adopting children, and each of them has a stronger relationship with God due to what He has brought them through.  The husband is able to share his testimony in his blog.  Their friends and family have gathered around them in a way they never would have if this family had not faced such hardship.
Has all this suffering been in vain?  I don’t think so.  God is redeeming each of these situations and is using them for His glory.  Each of these situations is real, and each person has found hope and purpose in their situation as they have also sought God. When we understand that the purpose of life is to bring glory to God, we find that suffering has a real purpose, and it is not always bad.
For more on finding purpose beyond your pain, go to to read my friend, psychiatrist David Henderson’s, blog and book Finding Purpose Beyond Our Pain.