“. . . Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow . . .”
— Psalm 90:10
Perhaps nothing causes more people to stumble in their faith than the problem of suffering. None of us is exempt from tribulation. We all face it at one time or another. And in our pain and desperation, we often ask, “Why, Lord?”
Have those words ever echoed through the chambers of your soul in the middle of some dark and starless night?
We can’t get rid of all pain, trouble, hurt, injury, and sorrow. People fall off things and hurt themselves. Shall we then do away with the law of gravity? People have accidents in cars, planes, trains, and boats. Shall we then get rid of all forms of transportation? Suffering is a part of our world, and if Christians were exempt from all trouble and pain, everyone would immediately recognize the payoffs. If all Christians had an abundance of money, health, and happiness, our characters would never develop. Christianity would degenerate to a mere commercial venture.
So while we would avoid adversity if we could, it serves important purposes in our lives. First, trouble and sorrow equip us to help others by making us compassionate and willing to reach out to those in need. Second, trouble and sorrow draw us to God and drive us to our knees; they make us long for our real home, Heaven. The third and the greatest purpose of trouble is to make us Christlike. If we are to become like Jesus, we will, like Him, have to pass through the valley of the shadows. Although unpleasant at the moment, often out of the greatest suffering comes the greatest love and beauty.
Do you face adversity today? If so, ask the Lord to show you the purpose of it in your life. Then, if you can, look past your pain to the way God is using it to draw you closer to Him and to His kingdom.