Benefits from Suffering: Truth of God’s Love For You

By Carol McClain

“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask” James 4: 1-2.

Life is hard.

If we look around the United States, we see plenty of suffering: abused children, homelessness, addiction, poverty despite working hard.

Looking beyond our borders we can find worse suffering that makes our lives look luxuriant.

Sometimes, as we live in pain and sorrow and depression, sometimes, as we suffer mental illness or mistreatment at the hands of another, we wonder: Does God love us?

The answer is an unequivocal: YES

Because God loves us, He gave us free will. We can choose the direction our lives will take. With that comes consequences from other people.

Someone wants money and power, so he oppresses the poor. Someone creates rules in government that benefit her class, so the populace must bear the burden. He steals. She beats her servant. He cheats on his wife. She takes drugs. Name the vice.

As we said last week, sin is wrong because hurt is always involved.

Can you see the hurt in infidelity? robbery? sexual perversion? gossip? laziness?

This is not how God intended our world to be.

Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world. Yet God uses it for our benefit because He loves us.

How does adversity help us?

  1. We become better people if we let Christ teach us. We learn compassion and humility. It’s hard to be humble and realize there’s a creator we can’t ever rival if we can do it all. Romans 5:4 says perseverance builds character and character brings hope.
  2. When we suffer from our sin or someone else’s, we learn to hate wrong doing. An alcoholic has to reach bottom before she resolves to get sober. Remembering the pain of her addiction, she can stay sober because life without alcohol rivals the pitiful state of unbridled inebriation.
  3. It causes us to reevaluate our priorities. What’s important in life? Money or family? Pride or friendship? Ignominy or dignity?
  4. We draw near to Him. If we can do all on our own, we have no need of another. Thus we’re drawn to our mate because he/she complements us. So too, with Christ. When life gets unbearable, we see God. We understand our need. We draw close to Him and experience his overwhelming love.

Without doubt, the last benefit is the greatest.

Ask anyone who truly serves God. Life with Him surpasses anything this world can give

Romans 8: 35-39 says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

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