When Trinity was born she was picture perfect. But about an hour later our world was turned upside down. It was around midnight when the nurse burst into our room with those dreaded words, “There’s something wrong with your daughter!” The nurse left as quickly as she had entered, leaving us frightened and bewildered. It took three days for the doctors to determine what was wrong with Trinity and at four days old Trinity had major abdominal surgery. Fortunately the pediatric surgeon knew how to fix the problem and Trinity was quickly on the mend. But our healing took much longer than expected. The suffering we endured in those two weeks following her birth left us confused and emotionally scared.
Although sometimes suffering is a result of poor choices, other times people are allowed to suffer for no aparent reason. I believe if we are to understand this phenomenon we must grasp perspective. There is a vast difference between God’s perspective and our perspective. Oft times we interpret suffering in a negative light. We see it as something bad or a punishment. But God uses suffering in our lives to mold and strengthen us. Through suffering we draw close to God and are better equipped for His service. Sometimes he even uses our suffering to touch the lives of others. Oswald Chambers suggests, “If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a number of experiences that are not meant for you personally at all. They are designed to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what takes place in the lives of others.”
The Bible is clear that as believers we will suffer. God uses suffering to build character and stability in our lives. In the book of Romans, we are told that suffering produces endurance. In turn, endurance leads to both character and hope. (Romans 5:3-5) The book of James instructs us to “count it all joy when we face trails of various kinds”, because walking through trials produces steadfastness. (James 1:2-4) In otherwords, when we experience difficulties (i.e.suffering) we become more committed, faithful and steady. Peter goes on to say that if we should suffer for righteousness’ sake, we will be blessed. (1 Peter 3:14)
God’s perspective on suffering is much different than ours. He does not intend it as a punishment, but as a natural part of life. Suffering is used by God to help us mature and draw closer to Him.