What purpose does suffering serve?

As a believers in Jesus, we are not immune to suffering in our lives? Because we crave comfort in our lives, this causes confusion? “Why would God do this to me?” is usually the conversation we have in our heads or maybe with others. After all, isn’t God love? What does the Bible, God’s word spoken to us, say about suffering?

Today in my devotions I read Romans 5, where it says:

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

This past week, in Sunday school with 6- and 7-year-olds, we were talking about God’s glory and what it means. That is a hard thing to wrap your mind around even as an adult. The way we explained it was like a box of treasure that holds things too wonderful to imagine. So, in thinking about the passage above, the hope of one day seeing God’s glory and what that holds gives us a joyful hope. And that hope is produced through our suffering. In the end, something we dread, suffering as a believer in Christ, produces something that brings us hope and peace in God.

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One thought on “What purpose does suffering serve?

  1. Mark Matthewson, director of Lincoln Berean’s Christian Leadership College and a PHD in philosophy, once asked one of his Philosophy 101 classes what good can come of suffering. All he got were blank stares. Granted, this was probably a motley lot who’d been out drinking all night before class (like so many freshmen level electives), but he thought the lack of response was also indicative of our culture’s lack of understanding on the subject. Or, you know, our crazy cushy comfort level . . .

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