– Thomas Merton
Devotional: 7 Christian Ways To Turn Suffering Into Blessings
Blessings can be perceived in many ways. One would be in a typical human way. Another, is in a Christian way. This quote from Merton is a very powerful saying with regards to the nature of suffering because, for the most part, we cannot avoid suffering. It is a natural by-product of sin. We live in a sinful world having to endure all the pain, disappointments, frustrations, etc., all of which are bound to come. As we spend a lot of time enduring them all, we end up suffering more. It is admirable because instead of trying to dodge away suffering, you can turn suffering into blessings.
Here are 7 Christian ways to turn suffering into blessings:
Walking With God Moment-by-Moment
Keep in mind that even though you’re facing a lot of medical, financial, or relationship issues, you are not there to face them alone. Someone very powerful will walk along with you, and that is no other than Jesus Christ. This is something you must understand and should gain a lot of strength from. He isn’t just walking with you day-by-day, like He’ll be by your side for 8 hours, and then, He takes a break, then do the same thing again the next day. He walks with you moment-by-moment. So take advantage of this power.
Keeping the End In Mind
You might be blinded or completely crushed by the challenges that come your way. You just have to remember that regardless of how strong the storm may be, it will always come to an end. The real thing that matters is the endgame—the final destination of your journey, which is salvation. You have to be mindful of that. There will be many storms that will come your way as you journey towards your destination. But if you focus on the prize you will get in the end, all the adversities you have gone through will be worth it. Most importantly, the storms will look so small, rendering them insignificant.
Seeing the Blessing in Every Challenge
Part of the reason why people who try to avoid suffering end up suffering more is because they refuse to look at challenges face-to-face. If you’re honest with yourself, when you look at your challenges, you would see that there is a blessing in each of them. When you’re being challenged financially, the blessing aspect of it could be learning how to manage your finances better so that you can get a better investment. Challenges could cause you to fall several times. But, eventually, you will reach a point where you learn a lesson. That lesson is actually the blessing that is going to help you end similar future challenges.
Asking God for A Change Of Heart
Have no doubt that God is always ready to answer your prayers. The problem is that many people would rather have their circumstances than their hearts change. A lot of times, the biggest blessing you can ask God is not something that would let the bad times go away, but for you to have a change of heart and to know the correct way to respond to bad times. Always remember that if you look at life objectively, all the things that you perceive become neutral. It is how you judge them and how you look at them that makes them turn their back on you. God can change your heart so you can see the blessing in every challenge. He changes your heart so you can avoid the patterns that lead you to rough situations again and again.
Finding Strength to Help Other Sufferers
You will know if you are effectively reflecting God’s character when, instead of focusing on how much of a victim you are, or how much you’ve suffered; you take a look at the amount of welfare and benefit others, going through the same challenges, receive. If you have the talent to do this, then you are tapped into a very strong blessing God has placed in your heart. Never forget that God created man is in His own image. Because of sin, this image was stained, although, the image is still there. When you find the strength to help others who suffer, you are letting Jesus’ image shine through your life.
Humbling Your Heart
Another reason why our suffering gets prolonged and becomes more painful than usual is because we let our hearts harden with pride. We tend to tell ourselves, “I can go through this; this is easy. This is me; I can do this. I can do that.” The more we look at our challenges in this manner, the more the challenges will prevail. More often than not, it degrades our prayers leading us to think that prayers become less effective because we can rely on our own strength. When we look at suffering as a means to make our hearts humble, and when we trust God to allow us to reduce so that Jesus can increase, we are in the acts of channeling more blessings into our lives.
Embracing Christ’s Perspective
When Jesus was on earth, He didn’t have many personal belongings. A pair of sandals and some robes for clothing were all he had. His main concern was God’s kingdom. When we look at life from Jesus’ standpoint, everything else around it becomes dimmer making them less important. This is a powerful way of turning sufferings into blessings. You can come out from the storm well transformed because you could embrace Christ’s perspective. The Bible tells us that what you behold changes you. So if you focus your attention on Jesus, you will continue to change and become more like Him, making the world’s challenges of lesser resistance.