Suffering Has Kingdom Purpose
by Joanne Ellison
02.17.20
02.17.20

In a world where we hear so much bad news who wants to read a blog on suffering? I personally would rather go to the dentist and not use Novocaine. I want to get away from the bad news, isolate myself from hearing the tragic stories in the news. Just this week a beautiful 6 year old girl was abducted and killed. We cannot escape that this world is painful at times. Suffering is a part of our existence on this side of the cross. And it’s best that we address suffering from a Biblical worldview. People blame God for our suffering, sometimes themselves, their sin or mistakes. Some shake their finger at the devil. Truth is, all of these things come into play. But what I want to address is the truth that suffering produces kingdom fruit.

I used to hate it when my exercise instructor would say to us: ” No pain, no gain.” But there is truth to this. James put it this way.

My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into various trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have it’s perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)

Patience needs to be sown and tilled in our hearts so that we may lack nothing. Is that what he said? Yes. We all need to have patience as we wait on the Lord to work His perfect love, hope, confidence and holiness in our lives. The work of the Holy Spirit as we endure trials is to produce fruit in us so that we can lack nothing. Counter intuitive? You bet it is. But most things in the kingdom are that way.

Paul writes:

… but we also glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope. (Romans 5:3-4)

Suffering has kingdom purpose. It produces Godly character sending our spiritual roots down into God so that we can draw from a deep well of trust and hope in Him.

Now if we are children, then we are heirs- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory. (Romans 8:17). 

Suffering plants seeds of Christ’s glory into our lives. As his children and his heirs, we quite naturally want the good stuff– eternal life, the gifts He gives us, and His purposes to be fulfilled in our lives. No one wants to focus on His sufferings and certainly no one wants to suffer no matter how much patience and endurance is grown through the process.

Recently I read Francis Chan’s book, Letters to the Church, and he has a chapter on suffering. He writes:

Suffering is rarely talked about in the American church. I find this ironic because suffering is all through the New Testament. 

Friends, we all find ourselves in seasons of struggle; seasons where we are suffering greatly. We need each other to get through these seasons. Resist the temptation to isolate, and instead seek counsel, prayer and help. Drawing Near Ministry is a place to connect with other Christians. Although we are based in Charleston SC, we have an online presence and would love for you to join our community so that we can come alongside you and offer you resources and help in your journey.

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