– Jerry Bridges
The Apostle Paul tells us about everything that happens to us and how that fits in with God’s purposes. He wrote, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28). What’s part of this purpose? Paul says it’s “to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Rom 8:29).
If we are not in a trial or in pain right now, just wait because all who live godly will suffer, at least from persecution, and persecution can sometimes hurt the worst. Physical pain may be nothing compared to the emotional pain of being separated from your friends, co-workers, and even your family because of your faith. Paul has a great way to think about this. He wants you and I to “consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18). The glory we’ll see someday is also part of God’s purpose for us…even if it’s done through pain (physical or emotional).
When God finally wipes away every tear, buries every sorrow, stops every pain, ends all the suffering, and even does away with death(Rev 21:4), our purpose will be fully known. Today, we might have some idea about how God uses pain for His purpose, but in the kingdom, we’ll finally be told by God Himself why He allowed you and me to pass through these storms. We will finally understand that it was all according to God’s purposes, but then we’ll know.
We do know that suffering is never wasted and pain is always used like tools in the hands of the Creator to conform us more into the image of the Son of God; that He will reveal this glory someday in the kingdom; and then it will all make perfectly good sense. Until them, it’s like we can only see “through a glass, darkly” (1st Cor 13:12).