2 Corinthians 4:8-10
“8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.”
Not only can pain direct and inspect but third, it can also:
Sometimes it takes pain to bring us to the point of repentance and put us on a different path. The story of the prodigal son reminds us that it took the pig pen to bring the son to his senses. Sometimes pain and failure are the only way to learn the lessons that we need to. It’s likely that as a child your parents told you not to touch a hot stove, yet how many of us actually learned by being burned! Sometimes we only learn the value of something by losing it. As Psalm 119:71 says, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn your statutes.” Not only can tough times correct but fourth they can also
When someone in a family dies loved ones come from near and far for the funeral. People typically come together in the tough times. Difficulty not only draws people together, but it can also draw them closer to Christ, as David said in Psalm 119:67, “Before I was afflicted, I went astray” Calamity can serve to bring us together and cause us to connect in ways we would not do separate from suffering. Sometimes when people get bad news from their doctor about their physical condition, it causes them to come to church as they seek to come back to God. Not only can pain connect but fifth it can also:
Problems can actually be blessing in disguise when they prevent you from being harmed by something more serious. Recognizing that problems can actually protect requires having a proper perspective, the kind of perspective that Joseph had when he said to his brothers in Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” When we see problems as possible protection it will change how we approach them. The truth is God is the only true “surge protector!” not only can problems protect but sixth they can also:
Problems when responded to correctly can serve to change us and build our character. The truth is that God is far more interested in your character than he is in your comfort. Your relationship to God and your character are the only two things you’re going to take with you into eternity. As Paul pointed out in Romans 5:3-4, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” Sometimes it takes the school of suffering to perfect us. David recognized this when he said in Psalm 71:19-21, “Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens. You have done such wonderful things. Who can compare with you, O God? 20 You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. 21 You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again.” It’s here that we find that trouble was actually a treasure. It was a blessing in disguise because it became a benefit to David. Often the graduate degree of spirituality comes from attending the University of distress and difficulty. Not only can problems perfect but seventh they can also:
Paul said in Philippians 1:12-14, “And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. 13 For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. 14 And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear.” Problems actually served to propel the gospel forward, sometimes problems force us to focus on what is really most important. We may not like calamity but it focuses us so that we can further God’s cause. Paul’s chains while problematic actually served to communicate Christ to everyone around him. They also caused other believers to be bold and confidently communicate Christ without fear. Someone once said, “For God to make manifest the fact that He gives songs in the night, He must first make the night!” We may not like the storms but sometimes we need the winds of adversity to get us where we need to be and doing what we are called to do. Sometimes trouble is simply the factory that God uses to produce the right type of product in our lives. Hardships and trouble in the hand of God can turn out to be some of our greatest treasures. God is at work in your life, even when you do not recognize it or understand it. He’s in the storm with you calling you to seek Him and be a water-walker, not a boat bobber. We may want to cling to the comforts but challenges remind us that the only one worth clinging to is Christ. What about you do you see the gain in the pain or are you so focused on the problems that you are missing the purpose?