The joy of suffering

“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 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. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.”
‭‭II Corinthians‬ ‭1:3-7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

The joy of suffering

I remember laying in my hospital bed at the Mayo Clinic back in 2004. I had been admitted with a cancerous tumor on my spine, and near paralysis from mid chest. I was constantly poked and prodded, examined and exposed to a multitude of prying eyes.

In the midst of all that, I considered my Lord Jesus, hanging on the cross. He did not have the old familiar cloth covering Him as we see in the paintings, but He was hung naked, for all to see. He bore our shame, our guilt , our sins, and took the humiliation before us. He suffered.

My time on that cancer journey, established the link between my head and my heart, and the word of God, which had been dry, was suddenly embedded into my very being. I felt true fellowship in His suffering. In the midst of the darkest days, I found joy.

In the aftermath, I began to discern some the reasons for my suffering, not the origins of it, or the whys, but how God could possibly use it. Reading II Corinthians chapter one, I was encouraged, as the Lord wastes nothing. He uses ever hurt, every pain, land every humiliation for His glory. He has used all the losses that I have had, and He has made deficits, gains, as He uses even my most painful experiences fuel for the furtherance of the Gospel.

The suffering I endured established new ministries for me, as I could empathize with more people. I could reach into the darkness of cancer, and bring the light of Christ, as one who knew the fellowship of Jesus in the midst of that storm.

Paul and those he traveled with had suffered for the faith, and had received great consolation in Jesus. Because of the suffering, they could speak truthfully of the faithfulness of God to those who would also enter in. That is the advantage that the Lord gives us, who are HIs.

Everyone will suffer at some point.

I remember going to a doctor’s appointment years ago, and seeing a woman wearing a head covering, indicating that she had lost her hair through chemotherapy. I said to her: “Looks like you are on the journey..” I then began tell of my own experience, and the blessings the Lord had brought. In that moment, I reached in to the darkness and brought light into the life of a stranger. “Thank you!”, her husband said as they went into see the doctor.

Brothers and sisters, the opportunities for suffering are growing exponentially each day, as the world we live in is crumbling. While we have the presence of God, we are not immune to that same suffering. Let us be light in the midst of darkness, taking the story of the suffering of Jesus on the cross for our sins, of how He has given us new life, and how He was or has been with us through our own suffering.

The world is looking for answers, and we have them. The suffering of this present world is ongoing and will increase, but there is coming a time when there will be no more suffering, no more pain, and no more tears. Let us be faithful to tell others of the Good News, that there is forgiveness of sins, the cause of much suffering.

“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.””
Revelation 21:1-4 NKJV

In Jesus, we have been given the ultimate in consolation, for our God Himself has offered Himself to defeat sin and death, and that through Him we can be healed, and point others to that glorious source of divine healing.

Let us be bold to do so!





One thought on “The joy of suffering

  1. So thankful for a loving heavenly father who revealed his grace through the offering of his son, Jesus. To have a God we can trust, above all wonders and above all kings, is the truest form of comfort we can ever experience. This is a great reminder you have given today Bernie. Thank you my friend!


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