God’s purpose in suffering

Christ holding me“Not only that, 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, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Rom. 5:3-5 (ESV)

Chapter         (ESV)

Audio              (3:29)

This week, I’ve been examining some of the wrong ways we may perceive God. We may view Him as emotionally unattached or concerned only about our performance. We may also view Him as the Heavenly Tyrant.

Another common misperception is to see God as our heavenly genie.

This is often the result of attempting to create God in our own image. After all…don’t we all want a god that gives us everything we need when we ask?

This explains the appeal of the health and wealth gospel, which essentially packages God as a cosmic genie ready to grant our every wish for health and wealth.

There is truth in the fact that God dearly wants what is best for us. The problem is that His perception of what is best is usually very different than our perception.

God looks at eternity… we look at today.

God seeks our character development…we seek pleasure and comfort.

If we see God as the heavenly Santa Claus, we will not understand the bad things that happen to us and to the people around us. Suffering will cause us confusion, anxiety, and sometimes even anger…resulting in a distorted view of God.

Paul helps us maintain the proper view of God in the midst of suffering by telling us God’s purpose in suffering.

God uses suffering to make us better people.

Paul has realized this through his personal experience with suffering, which is why he is able to rejoice in the midst of that suffering. He knows that in the long term, suffering is better than immediate pleasure.

As you encounter suffering, either in your personal life or in the lives of your patients, remember that God is in the midst of suffering…creating a better person.

If you are suffering…rejoice…God is creating a better you!

Prayer: Lord, help me see suffering through Your eyes.

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