|Rose window, Notre Dame|
"When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God." (Acts 14:21-22 ESV*)
"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2 Corinthians 12:9)
"Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness." (C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain)
What are the benefits of suffering in the Christian life? Here are some highlights from chapter 4 in Joni Eareckson Tada's A Place of Healing:
Benefit No. 1: Suffering Can Turn Us from a Dangerous Direction. "Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. ... It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes." (Psalm 119:67, 71)
Benefit No. 2: Suffering Reminds Us Where Our True Strength Lies. "Who has understood the mind of the LORD, or instructed him as his counselor? (Isaiah 40:13 NIV)
Benefit No. 3: Suffering Restores a Lost Beauty in Christ. "For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)
Benefit No. 4: Suffering Can Heighten Our Thirst for Christ. "...for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water." (Jeremiah 2:13)
Benefit No. 5: Suffering Can Increase Our Fruitfulness. "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)
"Conversion is not the smooth, easy-going process some men seem to think. It is wounding work, of course, this breaking of the hearts, but without wounding there is no saving.… Where there is grafting there is a cutting, the scion must be let in with a wound; to stick it onto the outside or tie it on with a string would be of no use. Heart must be set to heart and back to back, or there will be no sap from root to branch, and this I say, must be done by a wound." (John Bunyan, from "The Acceptable Sacrifice: The Excellency of a Broken Heart")
~ Joni Eareckson Tada, taken from "What Benefit Is There to My Pain?" in A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God's Sovereignty (David C. Cook, 2010).
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.