We learned that all people suffer. Even faithful can not escape sufferings. But how do we treat the sufferings that come in our lives? Will it do good to us as a believer of God? King David says, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted” (Psa. 119:71).
Usually when we suffer, we can only see the problems involved. Surely if we commit sin as a result, then the suffering is harmful. But if we remain faithful, there are favourable results that can happen and would surely benefit us as Christians.
When we experience sufferings, it can be an opportunity for us to show how we are committed to God. Christians suffer due to trials of faith. God wants us to be as genuine as gold purified by passing through trials and tests. (1 Peter 1:6,7) If suffering was limited to sinners and Christians never suffered, all people would want to be Christians, not because they really loved God, but just to avoid earthly problems. The fact that Christians suffer too means that suffering shows who is willing to remain faithful even when it is hard to do so. (Acts 5:40-42; 1 Cor. 11:19; 1 Peter 4:12)
Suffering can cause spiritual maturity and growth. When we face trials and sufferings, we developed other characters such as patience. Patience can only be developed when it is tried, otherwise, it will not come out. (James 1: 2-4) Romans 5:3-5 – Rejoice in tribulations because they work steadfastness, approvedness, and hope.
In our physical body, notice that the muscles and bones which face the most hardship are the strongest. Trials defeat some people but strengthen others. It depends on how we deal with them.
Another good side of suffering is that it keeps us humble and dependent on God. God wants us to be always dependent on Him. He always want us to call Him in times of distress, to cry for help. Jesus advises us not to lean on our own understanding but to put trust in God always. 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 – Affliction taught Paul not to trust in himself, but in God. God has repeatedly allowed countries to face wars, famines, and hardships when they became independent and failed to trust Him. Often this shows people their need for God. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 – Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was a messenger from Satan, yet God allowed it to remain because it kept Paul from becoming too proud over the many revelations he had received. From weaknesses, God can produce great strength. Genesis 50:20 – Joseph explained that his brothers had mistreated him, but God used that as a means to save the family from famine.
Satan puts trials in our lives to harm us. Yet one of the greatest demonstrations of God’s power is His ability to take those problems and use them to accomplish good. The greatest example of this is the death of Christ. Satan intended it as a defeat for God and all mankind, yet it ended up as the salvation of all mankind. (1 Peter 2:21-24)
Think for a moment of the really important things in life. How many of them are accomplished without hardship? Birth of a baby? Working to care for our families? Our eternal salvation? Suffering is an inherent part of everything good. Satan sends trials to harm us, but God can make them come out in the end for our good (Romans 8:28). But this works only if we remain faithful.