American folk singer, Judy Collins once said, “Suffering is the price of being alive.” We can all agree, suffering is never apart from the human condition. Never once did God promise days on earth without any trouble; in fact, Job 14:1 says, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.”
Consider Japan, Haiti, Darfur, New Orleans, New York City … the list can go on and on. While all these examples are major catastrophes, we can look in our own lives and remember times of great sadness, grief, and distress.
While it is not my intention to trivialize the major concerns of those dealing with disasters around the world, I truly believe that suffering on any level, is suffering none the less. If you have never been there, just do like the old people tell me: keep saying good morning. One day you will wake up scared or sad, in pain or panicked.
However, what if I told you that God had a purpose for you pain?
The ninth chapter of John, tells a story of a man who had been blind from birth. His condition left him with no other choice but to beg for charity on the streets of the city. When Jesus passed by, his boys wanted to know if this man’s situation was because of sin. The response Jesus gave blew me away.
Jesus said that this man suffered without his sight all those years for one reason only. “So that God’s works might be displayed in him.” (John 9:3b – New American Standard) In other words, God allowed that situation, so that He could reveal His goodness to that man. He received a miracle that he didn’t even ask for!
Many times God will permit difficulties to come into our lives in order to position us for the miraculous. In these times, the revelation of God is balanced by our need for Him. Andre Crouch said it best, “If I never had a problem, I wouldn’t know that God could solve them.”
So my question for you is this. If you knew that you would be a billionaire for the rest of your life, would you be able to struggle for 5 years? 10 years? 20? How long are you willing to suffer, in order to be blessed forever?
Let me encourage you. God has not forgotten about you; in fact he has a plan for you. If you draw close to Him and listen to what He has spoken over your life, you will find out that everything you’ve gone through has put you right on schedule for God to do something great. He knows how much you can handle even when you don’t.
Suffering is not always a curse. It allows us to see the power of God first hand. We will never have to wonder if God is real, or if He cares about us. “So let us not become tired of doing good; for if we do not give up, the time will come when we will reap the harvest.” (Galations 6:9 – Today’s English Version)
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