“Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”
- Acts 14:22
Every Christian suffers. Either you have already, or you will. There is no way around it. The reality of our lives is often a loud reminder that we haven’t yet reached the heavens and that there’s still a long way to go. But just because we go through the pain of suffering as we await the Day of Judgment, it is equally important to understand that suffering never comes without purpose.
Here are five truths about suffering every Christian should know.
1. Suffering Has Many Forms
There are many different kinds of suffering. The Bible never generalizes suffering by saying it’s only possible to suffer in one way. It rather accepts the multifaceted face of suffering. Paul wrote,
“8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;”
- Corinthians 4:8-9
In these verses, Paul is referring to several different kinds of suffering. These can be: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
2. It Can Happen In a Community
The church is supposed to be a refuge for those who suffer. If a member of the church is hurting, the church puts on bandages, and when a member is in need, the church provides.
“2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”
- Galatians 6:2
3. Sufferings Equips Us for Leadership
Firsthand experience of pain and suffering is essential if you’re trying to obtain a leadership role. Paul writes:
“4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
- Corinthians 1:4
When you’ve gone through the trials of suffering, you’ve truly become useful for other members who are going through the same problems. What you’ve learned from your experience, you can now teach to others.
4. Suffering Can Feel Like a Battleground
Suffering can feel like a battleground for your soul. According to the book of Jobs, there can be two distinct ways to respond to this problem.
“9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.
10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.”
- Job 2:9-10
You can either curse God during the problems you face, or you can praise Him and come close to him.
5. Suffering Can Prepare Us for More Glory
Even though we inherently try to avoid the sorrows of suffering at all costs, it can also bring eternal joy into our lives. For the short term, it may seem like God wants us to go through pain, but no smooth sea ever made a skilled sailor.
“17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
- 2 Corinthians 4:17-18