Suffering is a reality. Some people have faced more than others. But all will eventually face suffering of various sorts. We will all lose something or someone we love. We will all die, some very painfully, unless Christ returns first.
Suffering demands something of us. It demands that we face the reality that life is short. It helps us see that not everything this world offers is worthy of our attention. It calls us to look beyond the here and now.
Suffering is a tool. Though an extreme mercy, God has purposed that suffering be a minister of His grace. Through God’s own suffering, in the rejection and death of His Son, who suffered in the place of sinners, we learn what mercy and love are really about.
Suffering is a teacher…for all. Some suffering is innocent. Some suffering is deserved. All suffering can be turned into growth if we allow God to work in us. Only we don’t all learn from suffering. Oswald Chambers interestingly picked up on this note:
Suffering is the heritage of the bad, of the penitent, and of the Son of God. Each one ends in the cross. The bad thief is crucified, the penitent thief is crucified, and the Son of God is crucified. By these signs we know the widespread heritage of suffering.
Oswald Chambers in Christian Discipline