God uses suffering and trials to discipline us. Jesus said in the Scriptures that He does discipline those He loves (Revelation 3:19). It may be hard to understand, but when we look at the parental role on earth, discipline is part of raising a healthy and well-adjusted child. We don’t want our children to keep making the same mistakes. Should we be surprised when the Heavenly Father wants His children to mature? That takes discipline and obedience.
God intends for the Christian life to make us what He wants us to be. God has a divine plan for shaping our lives. That plan often includes suffering in one way or another. It deepens our spirit; it strengthens our resolve to keep our eyes on Him and the path that He has put before us.
Have you ever considered that steel is iron plus fire; soil is rock plus crushing; linen is flax plus the comb that separates, and the shuttle that weaves! Suffering includes many different elements of anguish known to man, not just physical pain. We would all like to lead a life free of pain and problems, but who really does? Such people will be impossible to find. If anyone who has lived a few years claims that they have never experienced suffering in some form, they haven’t lived very long.
Read the Scriptures. You will not be able to find one person who lived without suffering. Then read the great chapter of Hebrews 11. You will see that victory awaits those who endured the fires of hardship and kept their eyes on Jesus. He will never fail us.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)