– T.A. McMahon
It Humbles Us
One thing that suffering does is humble us, or at least it should. God may use a trial to allow us to suffer so that we might humble ourselves. The Apostle Peter wrote, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you” (1 Peter 5:5). If we don’t humble ourselves, God may have to do it for us. If we exalt ourselves, God will have to humble us. Why don’t we humble ourselves voluntarily so that we might grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord? That will give us an opportunity to grow in the faith.
It Makes Us Reflect
There are many storms in life that all of us must face. Some are storms of perfection, storms of direction, storms of correction, and sometimes storms of reflection. They make us look at our lives to see if we have any unconfessed sin or look at what we’re doing for the Lord so that He might redirect our steps to walk in His will. Don’t we all want that?
It Refines Us
Gold is made more valuable when it passes through fire. Fire burns away all the impurities (dross) and makes it closer to the pure gold that refiners seek. This makes it more precious. When we pass through a fiery trial, God may be using it to burn away the impurities in our life. Fire is a symbol of God’s judgment, but it also does a lot of good. As in our case, it can refine us and make us more like Christ. When does the refiner know when the gold’s refined? When the refiner can see his own reflection in it. It’s the very same process God uses because He is in the refining business. As the Apostle Peter wrote, “The tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7).
It Allows Us to Share in Christ
Peter wrote, “Insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:13), and “as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too” (2 Corinthians 1:5) because “if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer” (2 Corinthians 1:6).
I have seen enough in my Christian life to know that every trial of suffering is an opportunity to grow in the faith, as God may use it to humble us, to make us reflect on our life, to make us grow in the faith, and to allow us to share in the sufferings of Christ to better know Him and comfort those who need comfort.