– Jerry Bridges
The old phrase, “no pain, no gain” is true in the spiritual realm as well as the physical realm. Growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord is painful, just like physical growing pains children have (especially teen boys!), but if we never suffer any pain, we’ll never see our need for God, but one of pain’s principle works might be to humble us or conform us more into the image of Christ. Whatever our pain is doing to us, it’s all in God’s hands and will ultimately work out for our very best (Rom 8:28). That much I know.
How does suffering help us? It may be God’s way of humbling us because we know that God will resist the proud and give His grace only to the humble (James 4:6), but if it’s unconfessed sin that is causing you to suffer, you are like the psalmist who wrote, “I am full of anxiety because of my sin” (Psalm 38:8). All you have to do is to confess it and be cleansed (1st John 1:9), otherwise, suffering may be God’s way of getting our attention, and we surely want to hear His voice don’t we?
Sorrow is never wasted. In fact, a godly sorrow lead us to repentance. The Apostle Paul wrote, “godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death” (2nd Cor 7:10), so even though the“Weeping may tarry for the night…joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5).
Death is not the end…it is a doorway that leads into eternity. That eternity will be unspeakably joyful for those who have trusted in Christ, but for those who have refused to believe in Christ, tragically, they die with the wrath of God abiding on them (John 3:36b), but if you know of a saint who’s passed into glory, weep not for them, but rejoice because they’re finally in the presence of the Lord, so death is only a doorway that leads into the next life. Which life that will be, is up to you.
Jerry Bridges, in writing that God “has a purpose in every pain He allows in our live,s” may mean that suffering is never wasted. God uses it to conform us into the image of His Son, to humble us, to bring us to Himself, and in the end, not even death can separate us from God (Rom 8:37-39).