Suffering had a beginning and will have an end.
Church is a safe place but it isn’t. Elementary schools are a safe place, but they aren’t. We can’t even feel secure in our families – they are broken as well. There’s no place that isn’t broken, no place that is safe. No haven on this earth can protect us. That cloud above us of despair is overwhelming, and I have no idea how a person can get through a day of this without the hope of Jesus Christ.
but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame,
Suffering produces endurance, gives us perspective on our momentary troubles and afflictions. That endurance in turn refines our character. As we endure suffering and gain perspective, we are drawn to Christ-likeness. We don’t look for the healing of our hurt, we look to the healer Himself. That is how we hope. Hope that the suffering is temporary – that we grieve here on earth because we know and long for the redeemed world we’ve been promised.
“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
As we try to numb the pain and suffering, we miss the truth of God spoken to us. Shouted at us. We don’t always like what we hear. We certainly don’t like the way the message is delivered. When we close our hearts to the message, we miss the blessing. If the suffering is to have a purpose, we must allow God to speak to us through it. We must endure. We must continually seek sanctification. And we must cling to hope.