If the New Testament teaches anything, it teaches this: suffering is an opportunity for growth. Most of us would probably just as soon not have to experience pain, illness, disability, loss of loved ones, loss of possessions, persecution, and any other hard thing life throws at us. But since trials are a reality that will not go away (yet), why not make up our minds to accept them and even benefit from them?
A study of what the Bible says on the subject is a rewarding exercise. It says a lot. It braces us for the inevitability of suffering. It offers us strength to endure hardships when they come. It teaches us to accept trials optimistically in view of the blessings they can bring. And it reassures us that for the faithful Christian all suffering ends at death—ultimate relief is certain!
Here’s where faith is a must. Without trust in a benevolent Heavenly Father, life can be unbearable—it makes little sense. But with faith we can face whatever comes, understanding that God is in control. He knows what we’re going through, and He will help us overcome.
Here are just a few of the great passages on suffering. Read them and be encouraged —that’s what they’re there for!
Matthew 5:10-12 Hebrews 12:3-13
John 16:33 James 1:2-4
Romans 5:3-5 1 Peter 1:3-9
Romans 8:16-18, 31-39 1 Peter 4:12-19
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 1 Peter 5:6-10
If we didn’t know what these passages teach, how vulnerable we would be in time of trial! But making them a vital part of our values, we can, with God’s help, handle whatever comes.