On Suffering

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”      John 16:33 

I have been reading a book by Adam Hamilton titled Making Sense of the Bible. On one of the quotes that Hamilton shared, he noted that it was from an old newspaper clipping he had seen but could find no source. The quote is so good I felt the need to share it with my readers…

Suffering is not God’s desire for us, but it occurs in the process of life. Suffering is not given to teach us something, but through it we may learn. Suffering is not given to punish us, but sometimes it is the consequence of our sin or poor judgment. Suffering does not occur because our faith is weak, but through it our faith may be strengthened. God does not depend on human suffering to achieve his purposes, but sometimes through pain, his purposes are achieved. Suffering can either destroy us, or it can add meaning to our life.

During this pandemic, the world is suffering. Indeed, as with nearly all instances of world-wide calamities and disasters, some suffer grievously, and some suffer relatively little. The point is, that all are suffering somehow, and we need not quantify it, nor do we need to explain it. We need to go through it, learn from it, and use those lessons for the benefit of society.   

Prayer: Father, in this time of suffering we look to you as our source of peace. Thank you that you have overcome the troubles of the world, Amen.

2 thoughts on “On Suffering

  1. Thanks John for your words on suffering.
    As a retired toolmaker/machinist I am reminded of several methods of working metal. Some of the last things that can be done to metal after the part is formed into its final shape is to burnish, peen and heat treat. Burnishing is a process that polishes or removes tooling marks left behind from the milling or turning required to make the finished part. It requires that the marks are removed by applying pressure with a roller made of a harder material that pushes the ridges down and smoothes the surface. Peening is a process that uses small round hardened balls or shot that is used to strike the part under force. In doing so it causes the surface of the part to be hardened. In heat treatment the part is hardened by bringing the part up to a high temperature (red hot) and then cooling it by using oil or air to temper the part to a desired hardness.
    I think that suffering does to us the same as these processes do to metal. When we undergo the pressures of stress, the physical and mental beatings of life and the heat of conflict we become polished and hardened for what else life has for us. We can take heart in knowing we can endure.


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