Is Suffering a Privilege?


010 | Suffer

(Photo credit: The Doctr)

March is colon cancer awareness month so I’m going to be posting occasionally about cancer, occasionally about colon cancer, and occasionally about suffering. I’ll state a disclaimer now that most of what I post will be re-posts from last year on my Michael King blog. But since this blog gets so much more traffic than King’s blog I figure it can’t hurt to post again. Besides, I need to read this stuff more than once . . . just to remember.

I have a friend who suffers from a malady that affects him every day, several times a day and sometimes totally incapacitates him, leaving him unable to move or even speak. And yet in spite of this thorn he presses on and serves God wherever he can, sometimes to the point of near total exhaustion.

He told me, “Jesus did so much for me, following his call is the least I can do for him.”

Our conversation led us to the topic of suffering and trials and what it all means, what the “point” of it all is. We talked about the thorn in the flesh that Paul wrestled with and how those thorns drive us closer to God, relying on Him for strength when we have nothing.

“When I am weak, then I am strong.”

Not in our own strength, but in His strength.

Suffering pushes us into God’s arms, the point of total reliance on Him.

My friend, who’s thorn affects every aspect of his life, then said, “You know, if I could do life all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Sounds strange, I know. But there’s a blessing in suffering, a certain privilege that goes with travelling that valley of the shadow of death. Those who hurt–the wounded, the afflicted–get to experience God in a way others never do. They see a side of their Father that is reserved for those who share in Christ’s suffering. They feel the tenderness of Daddy, His arms around them, His breath in their ears. It’s an experience that far outweighs the pain of the trial.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18, NIV)

I’ve often said that people have one of two reactions to suffering: either they turn from God and want nothing to do with Him, or they run to Him and fall into his open arms.

When suffering strikes, when trials push themselves into your life, run to your Father, rely totally on Him, abide in His presence.

There’s blessing to be found there.

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About mikedellosso

Mike Dellosso is an author of wide-eyed suspense. He writes stories that not only entertain but enlighten.

Posted on March 5, 2013, in Cancer, Christian Living, Suffering and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Mike, you’re right again. I have seen, many times, the benefits of suffering. I write this as I’m suffering through my eleventh day of upper respiratory infection coupled with high fever and a pounding headache that won’t go away. My daily activities have been restricted to an hour of two on the computer and the rest of the day in bed, trying to sleep. Through it all, whenever I turn to the Father, He speaks to me more clearly than any other time.

    I believe the Lord uses suffering to get our attention. He uses it to take our focus off of our busy lives, in which we often neglect our relationship with Him, and turn it to His love and guidance. He uses suffering to grow our faith, if we let Him.

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    • Good point, Bruce, about God using suffering to get our focus off the busyness of life and grow our faith. But the key is those last four words you wrote . . . if we let Him!

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  2. Susan Snodgrass

    Mike, I believe that as we suffer, we should run to Christ. My brother, who has had his back, sternum, knee and leg broken in a horrific car accident, is a wonderful example to me. When he was airlifted to the nearest trauma center, the doctor told us that Jeff should be paralyzed even then, before any treatment began. He lost several inches in height, is on pain medications 24 hours a day, yet he still works 50-60 hours a week, refusing to go on disability. His desire is to pray for others to be healed, even if he is not. He is my inspiration. I see him hurting, yet he runs to God and glorifies Him.

    I have several chronic conditions that cause pain when they flare and I don’t like it, not one bit, but when the pain strikes, I cry out to God. And at the end of every day, I can lay my head on my pillow and thank God for giving me the grace to get through another day.

    One day we will suffer no more. Oh, glorious day!

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  3. Mike, great post.

    I read this the other day from Larry Crabb: “To know Me (God) well, you must first be confused by Me. Only in the mystery of suffering will you stop trying to fit Me into your understanding of life.”

    Yes, in our pride we think we’ve got God worked out or we allow ourselves to believe what we think God is saying to us as it comforts us, rather than actually acknowledging we have no idea.

    The book of Job is great for helping reveal this truth.

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