The Truth About Suffering

We have two options as we face the pain of our daily lives.

Do you ever feel like every time you turn around there’s more bad news? I’m not even talking about watching the news (because that is enough to put me over the edge some days). I’m talking about texts from friends with news of diseases, evil penetrating homes, death, miscarriages, unknown diagnoses, broken relationships and more and more and more.

Right now I’m praying for a friend’s mom who is paralyzed from a surgery to remove a brain tumor. Nothing has gone as expected, and they are clinging to Jesus in the midst of all the unknowns. I’m praying for friends who had abuse take place in their home. It has wreaked havoc on their children and finances, and they are now fighting for justice. I’m praying for friends pastoring a church that’s going through major hurt and pain. The wisdom and grace that this pastor and his family need is more than I can fathom. I’m praying for a friend’s body to be healed from cancer. I could list 10 more things that are plaguing actual friends of mine, and you wouldn’t think anything of it—because this is your life as well.

You could do the same thing right now—listing friend after friend who is hurting. You could share with me about all the friends who are walking alongside someone in pain. You, too, have story after story of suffering that is happening right now in your life. This is our reality, and the longer I live, the more I see the hurt all around me every single day.

PAUL ON SUFFERING

Paul writes these words to the church in Rome: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18). I read that verse for the umpteenth time recently and realized that I could have one of two reactions to this. I could feel as though God is mocking my suffering as if he is distant and unaware of how hard life is here for us right now. Sure there’s glory to come, but our present realities are incredibly hard, and he doesn’t seem to care.

Or I could trust God’s Word, lean into the entirety of Scripture and see that God 100% understands suffering—as his Son, Jesus, endured more suffering than we could ever imagine. I could see the hope in this verse that God is laying on the table for us. I could try to grasp the idea that the pain I’m experiencing right now doesn’t even compare to what awaits me on the other side of this life. I could let that idea bring me hope beyond belief and begin to see that God has indeed not forgotten me, but is giving me a promise that will outlast this present day’s pain.

Paul writes about suffering a lot, and honestly, it’s one of the things I love about him. Suffering is inevitable in our lives, and so to see God’s Word address it with such hope gives me the ability to continue on. He writes this to the church in Corinth: “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:17).

Again, I could feel mocked here or I could feel so seen and loved by my Father. God is telling us that the suffering we are feeling and walking through is actually light. Though it feels oh-so-heavy right now, it is so light when compared to what awaits us. He also tells us that these afflictions we are enduring are momentary. Momentary? There are days where it feels like the hurt will never end. God also tells us that our lives are like a breath (Ps. 144:4) and a vapor (James 4:14) in the grand scheme of things, which means our suffering truly is momentary in comparison to the eternity we will spend with him—an eternity without any pain, death, hopelessness, disease, tears or any kind of suffering. These struggles are momentary. Our eternal glory is eternal. Praise Jesus!

THE PAIN DOESN’T COMPARE TO THE GLORY

Friends, this pain, this affliction, this suffering is not only light, and it is not only momentary, but it doesn’t even begin to compare to the glory that awaits us on the other side. We can hold our heads high as we travel through this earth and endure all that it brings—the good and the bad—knowing that there is something much greater on the other side awaiting us.

No matter what pain you or your friends are walking through today, know that God has not forgotten you. His love endures forever towards you, and he promises that this suffering is momentary. That is our hope when things feel out of control. Cling to his promises for your life today. He will sustain you through the darkness.

This article originally appeared on LifeWayVoices.com and is reposted here by permission.