BY A CAFE 1040 OVERSEAS WORKER
How God desires to use suffering in our lives
Around halfway through the semester, we hold a discussion with our students on the biblical perspective of suffering based on a sermon by Francis Chan. Personally, that discussion has had new meaning for us depending on what life circumstances are happening during that season. But no matter the season, we come to the same realization: suffering is allowed and ordained by God for the sake of the character of His children.
We talk a lot in our mentoring sessions about what obstacles stand in the way of going overseas long-term. In no time, we hear a relatively small list of obstacles related to family, support-raising, marriage, etc. It’s when we start to do some more digging, we find there's a lot of fear about what they will have to sacrifice for the sake of following Christ.
Suffering is a part of life. Whether you're a believer or not, you will experience it because this world is broken. Wouldn't you rather your suffering be for the sake of an eternal reward than in vain?
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For our light and temporary affliction is producing for us an eternal glory that far out weighs our troubles. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
What is it for you that holds you back from fully pursuing Christ's will? What are you saying is more important than the Creator of the Universe receiving His due glory?
In light of eternal glory, all things of this world pale in comparison. We desire to live a life in alignment with that truth, no matter the cost.
What are some benefits of suffering?
Suffering tests and demonstrates whether faith is real or not. Matthew 13:20-21, 1 Peter 1:6-7
Suffering is an ally in the fight against sin. 1 Peter 4:1
Suffering helps shape the character of the believer in the image of Jesus. Romans 5:3-4
Suffering provides an opportunity for the believer to experience God’s power. 2 Corinthians 12:10