I have been wondering about what value might be in my current suffering. My body is suffering through the aging process, and the trials and difficulties of life seem somewhat greater than in the past. I am a little overwhelmed. During prayer the other day, I felt encouraged to look in the book of 1 Peter. This is what I found.
In 1 Peter chapter 4, Peter reminds us that Jesus suffered in his body. Here are the first two verses of chapter 4 as they read in The Message:
Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from the old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.
I deduce from these words that my sufferings are helping me to get over myself, so to speak. They are setting me free from the blinders of self pursuit and opening my eyes to the broader purpose of what God wants. This passage is telling me the value of suffering. I find it comforting to know that suffering has value. It’s still suffering, nothing great about that, but there is an outcome that is valuable.
As I examine this idea of value in suffering, I comprehend the growth. I now see the hand of God in my provision more readily than I have before. My dependency on him has become more obvious. My eyes are more directed toward him. I am gaining from my suffering! Now I am encouraged. Walking through the current difficulties now seems a little easier. I will focus on God, and relax in his strength.