Hope in Suffering
From the audio How to Be Happy Anyhow
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Suffering is designed to make us better, not bitter. God brings men into deep waters not to drown them, but to cleanse them.
Everyone has tests and temptations and trials and tribulations of some form or another, but it’s how you handle them that makes the difference. We can avoid becoming bitter or resentful about our trials and suffering if we realize that our great heavenly Father, the Spirit of love of the entire universe, will never allow any evil to come into our life unless He can in some way make it turn out for good.
This is the wonderful secret that makes burdens become blessings, and trials become triumphs, and crosses become crowns—the knowledge that no matter what we go through, it will somehow turn out for our good. This is the wonderful plan that God has for us and the gift that He has given us who believe in Jesus and are His children. If we are saved, we can trust through problems and suffering, because we know there’s a good reason for our tests and trials.
Everything that happens to the child of God always has a ray of hope somewhere. The storm always has a rainbow. The night always has its stars. The clouds always have a silver lining. God’s loving care is always present in any circumstance. And even when it cannot be seen, faith knows that God is there. For the child of God there is always a good and wonderful purpose behind suffering—a blessing in disguise.
Nevertheless, problems with all of their advantages and lessons and blessings sometimes do tend to discourage us and weigh us down and often tempt us to despair. One of the best ways for keeping our cheerfulness and our balance in times of stress and adversity is the attitude we take toward our problems.
For an example, let’s take the story of the small boy who sat quietly in a seat of a train running between two of the Western cities in the United States. It was a hot, dusty day, very uncomfortable for traveling, and that particular ride was perhaps the most uninteresting day’s journey in the whole land. But the little fellow sat patiently watching the fields and the fences hurrying by, until a motherly old lady, leaning forward, asked sympathetically, “Aren’t you tired of the long ride, dear, and the dust and the heat?” The lad looked up brightly, and replied, with a smile, “Yes, Ma’am, a little. But I don’t mind it much, because my father is going to meet me when I get to the end of it!”
What a beautiful thought it is that when life seems wearisome and monotonous and burdensome, as it sometimes does, we can look forward hopefully and trustingly, and like the little lad, “not mind it much” because our Father, too, will be waiting to meet us at our journey’s end. The Lord will meet us at the end of life’s journey—thank God!
And let’s not forget that Jesus suffered everything that we suffer. The Bible says that He was tempted in all points just like we are. There were times when He was sick and He was tired and He was hungry and He was thirsty and He was discouraged. Think of that.
Jesus Himself knows what it’s like to suffer. In fact, He suffered more than any of us can ever even imagine! He suffered for all the sins of all the world, because He loves us so much and was willing to even die for us! And someday soon, God’s Word promises us, all the suffering for those who love God will come to an end, and He “shall wipe away every tear from our eyes, and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for all the evil of this world shall be passed away!”—When Jesus Himself returns to earth to right all wrongs and establish His eternal kingdom of love and peace!
Until that day, we will have to endure some suffering. But if you have Jesus in your heart, if you do your best to love Him and follow His teachings, as written in the Bible, you will find that the joy and happiness that will pervade and fill your life will far outweigh any temporary times of sorrow, suffering, testing, and trial.—And that as we have seen, God will work all of these things together for your good.
And when hard times do come, the Lord promises us in His Word, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee. When thou walkest through the fire, thou shall not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” And you’ll find that no matter how deep the floods of pain and sorrow, or how hot the fires of trial and affliction, Jesus is “a friend that sticks closer than a brother,” and if you put your hand in His, trust in Him, and depend upon His Word, He will lovingly lead you and safely see you through it all!
God’s love does not always keep us from suffering and trials, but it is a love that always keeps us through sufferings and trials. Let’s never forget that the trials and storms of life no more indicate the absence of God than clouds indicate the absence of the sun!
Originally published by TFI in 1989. Adapted and republished March 2017.
Read by Reuben Ruchevsky.