One of my favorite things in life is watching my grandchildren grow in every aspect of their lives—physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional. Every time I see them, they’ve changed.
That’s the way it should be, right? God never intended a baby to remain a baby. His plan is for infants to grow and mature. That’s His plan for us as His children, too. He wants us to mature into godly men and women who reflect His character.
Christian maturity doesn’t happen overnight.
It’s a process that takes time, and it often includes suffering. We’ve all experienced it in one form or another—job loss, the loss of someone we love, betrayal, illness, persecution, the pandemic.
How do we respond to suffering? Do we get angry or fall into self-pity? Or do we allow God to use our pain to refine us and make us more like Jesus?
This meditation from Finding Hope in Crisis: Devotions for Calm in Chaos reminds us that God is all about growing us into people who reflect Christ. May it shed a little light on your path when you wonder why God allows suffering in your life. Know you are loved!
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18(NIV)
It’s inevitable—life’s hard places change us. We cannot pass through the valley of suffering and emerge the same person. Our journey has the potential to either deepen us or destroy us, and we determine the direction it goes.
Compare the lives of two biblical women. Anna was married only seven years when her husband died. She spent the rest of her life worshiping God through prayer and fasting in the Temple. At age eighty-four, she immediately recognized the infant Jesus as the Messiah, burst into praise, and told everyone about him (Luke 2:36-38).
Naomi lost her husband and two adult sons. In the aftermath of loss, she renamed herself saying, “Call me Mara because the Almighty has made my life very bitter” (Ruth 1:20).
God’s intent is not that suffering makes us bitter. His desire is that it makes us better—kinder, gentler, wiser, stronger. His intent is that pain makes us more like Jesus.
If someone wrote your story, what would you want written about your response to your pain?
Lord, make me better. Make me more like Christ.
“We can do one of two things with suffering: we can absorb it and let it change us, or we can let it crush us. Suffering will change you, or it will crush you.” –Jennie Allen, Restless: Because You Were Made for More