Suffering and Growing – 3 Gifts To Get You Through the Fire

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Ann Graham Lotz walked through an 18-month period in her  life not long ago when she “went through a cluster of storms that left her emotionally gasping for breath.” A hurricane downed 102 trees in her yard, a fire consumed her husband’s dental office, her oldest son was diagnosed with cancer and underwent surgery, the health of both of Anne’s parents faltered, and a contractor made off with all the remodeling money from the Lotzs and did NONE of the work.  What was Anne’s response to this suffering?  She chose to trust God through it (Ann Graham Lotz: Faith and Our Suffering)

We work much of our lives seeking to avoid suffering.  We insure against it.  We fret and frazzle, “What we would do if this happens?”  Yet, it is a critical requirement for our personal and spiritual growth. It is suffering.

Suffering brings prolonged pain.  Emotional pain can come to us from those we love.  Financial pain can come from the loss of a job in a declining economy.  Physical pain of sickness and disease may come from unknown root causes.  Each bring pain.  Many times these events are outside our control.  Other times they are a direct result of the choices we make.

Yet, despite the cause and irregardless of our responsibility, suffering is part of the refining fire of life.  Though we seek to eliminate all pain and suffering, pain and suffering are required to grow personally and spiritually.  Suffering can push us toward The Lord.  Our inability to change our circumstance can teach us humility.  A humble heart is required to know God.

There is encouragement in these words:

Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job.  Instead, be glad the you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced.  This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner (The Message Bible, 1 Peter 4).

Know that the Lord’s power, mercy, and goodness are around the corner of your suffering.  God has given us three great gifts in the midst of suffering.  Three powerful choices we have:

  1. The power to choose our attitude
  2. The faith to believe despite our circumstances
  3. The strength to trust Him when we do not understand

Knowing that suffering cannot be avoided is freeing.  Understanding that suffering brings refinement will help you identify its purpose in your life.  So, suffer, grow, and move on!

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