Last week­end, a close friend from New Zealand just came. He invit­ed us to his house for home bible study with a pas­tor shar­ing his jour­ney in New Zealand as well. It was all good; I think the peo­ple who were with us end­ed giv­ing their life to Christ after­ward.

Not just a few hours when I arrived home, a friend who just left a mes­sage on my Face­book account. He was apol­o­giz­ing because he felt he sinned against me. But I tried to recall the days I spent time with this per­son but there wasn’t any except for leav­ing the group with­out notice.

Oh, it was okay. How are you?” I replied. He told me he was almost in death a few days ago when he attempt­ed to kill him­self and he was just recov­er­ing from it.

Then he recalled the days we were togeth­er as a group. How we laugh togeth­er and pray for one anoth­er. I think he miss­es those days. “Well, everyone’s tran­si­tioned to their new sea­son in life. Five of them mar­ried already, two of them have their first child already, and oth­ers left the coun­try to work abroad, and me? I’m still here in the Philip­pines and trans­ferred to a new­ly plant­ed church in Antipo­lo, and, will start pray­ing and seek­ing God for find­ing a wife in the next three years. Haha­ha!” I replied.

Um, that’s great. I envy all of you because your prayers are being answered by your God.” He told me.

I’ve been earnest­ly pray­ing to God to remove me from this suf­fer­ing but I didn’t get any answer. I have this finan­cial prob­lem that only hap­pened the time I sur­ren­der my life to Christ. I think my life was great with­out God so I decid­ed to back­slide.” He added.

I sym­pa­thize with him. When I became a Chris­t­ian, I thought life will become easy, I will become hap­pi­er and God will going to bless me expo­nen­tial­ly. Sounds pros­per­i­ty gospel isn’t it?

But I was wrong. The year 2010, I grad­u­at­ed, I was 19 years old back then when I had my first job. I lost myself in the process. The year 2012 I got accept­ed to work for a small firm. Every­thing was great, my col­leagues like me, my boss likes me but after the day I joined a church again, every­thing has changed.

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My boss fre­quent­ly mocks my work. Some of my col­leagues tempt­ed me to sin, there was one moment that they even hired a pros­ti­tute and they undressed her to dance in front me, but I ran. They tried to lock me in the room with that woman, but I hid some­where.

Through­out the years, I faced a con­stant bat­tle with sin and temp­ta­tion. It wasn’t easy for a Chris­t­ian to work in the cor­po­rate world with the unbe­liev­ers but thank God, I sur­vived and learned a lot.

Remem­ber the life of Job? He was with God, God is with him but he lost every­thing and yet he was so faith­ful to God that even he lost every­thing includ­ing his fam­i­ly, it didn’t cause him to back­slide from God. And because of that God blessed him more because he endured.” I told him.

That’s what awaits for a Chris­t­ian. God doesn’t promise us to give us a storm free life rather he will give us a storm proof life.

And how then can our life become a storm proof? By sharp­en­ing it through con­stant bat­tle, tri­als, and suf­fer­ing. That how God shapes us until we are ready for the great­ness he pre­pared for us.

I like how Charles Stan­ley put it in his own words when he wrote in his book Liv­ing the Extra­or­di­nary Life he said that “..noth­ing can touch your life apart from the per­mis­sive will of God.”

Does it mean God allow me to suf­fer?

Ill­ness, wars, finan­cial trou­bles, los­ing some­one, dif­fi­cult jobs, heart­breaks, and dif­fi­cult mar­riage — doesn’t God wants me to be hap­py? Why would a good God allows suf­fer­ing? Why He just can’t end suf­fer­ing if He is good and pow­er­ful?

I hate to admit that I went through dif­fer­ent sea­sons of my life that I wres­tled with God all the time. When­ev­er I ask Him to bless me, he sends forth a test instead. Why God?

But often times, I stum­bled in the life of Joseph in the Bible. Joseph was an arro­gant young man who was hat­ed by his broth­ers. In their anger, they impris­oned Joseph in a pit and then sold him to Egypt as a slave.

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Weak and doubt­less Joseph prayed to God to help him to escape but no help was com­ing. I can imag­ine how painful his sit­u­a­tion is. Through his years of bondage and mis­ery, Joseph’s char­ac­ter was refined and strength­ened by his tri­als. And then even­tu­al­ly, he rose up to become the prime min­is­ter of Egypt who saved thou­sands of lives and his own fam­i­ly from star­va­tion caused by famine in the land.

If God had not allowed Joseph’s years of suf­fer­ing, he would nev­er be such a pow­er­ful agent for social jus­tice and spir­i­tu­al heal­ing.

Did you know that what we most real­ly need to suc­ceed in life came through our most dif­fi­cult and painful expe­ri­ences?

Let me give you three rea­sons why God allow suf­fer­ing:

 

1. Our painful expe­ri­ences often reveal God’s pur­pose for us.

God com­forts us in all our trou­bles so that we can com­fort oth­ers. When we are weighed down with trou­bles, it is for your com­fort and sal­va­tion! For when we our­selves are com­fort­ed, we will cer­tain­ly com­fort you. Then you can patient­ly endure the same things.” (2 Corinthi­ans 1:4, 6 NLT)”

I have so many painful expe­ri­ences that I don’t think I can share all of them here, but it helped me to find my pur­pose.

 

2. Your great­est min­istry will flow out of your painful expe­ri­ences.

Yes! I hate to say this but your great­est min­istry will over­flow from your painful and dif­fi­cult expe­ri­ences not out of your strengths or your tal­ents but out of the painful expe­ri­ences of your life. It is your weak­ness­es that help oth­er peo­ple in their need, not your strengths.

Recall the last time you suf­fered and recall the last time you shared it with some­one else. Does it bring com­fort to them? Does it encour­age them?

As a pub­lic speak­er and a teacher, I real­ized how it is impor­tant to be vul­ner­a­ble to peo­ple. Shar­ing your dif­fi­cult times is worth it because it inspired peo­ple or stu­dents to endure as well.

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3. Our painful and dif­fi­cult expe­ri­ences often lead us to great joy that can only be found in Christ alone.

Christ him­self suf­fered when he was cru­ci­fied. But did you know that while he was hang­ing on that cross, he thinks of you? He looks upon you with delight. He offered his life to give you a sec­ond chance to live your life for Him and in the ser­vice of oth­ers.

The pur­pose of suf­fer­ing is to lead us back to God. We are cre­at­ed in His own image and like­ness. God allows suf­fer­ing for us to see that noth­ing can com­pare to the life He is offer­ing.

I must say that all dif­fi­cult and painful expe­ri­ences was a ter­ri­ble price to pay but it worth it. With­out suf­fer­ing we can­not say life is worth liv­ing, isn’t it?

After our con­ver­sa­tion, I prayed for my friend and ask him to release his hurts to God. I know it wasn’t easy but I know he can.

Does God allow me to suf­fer? My answer is a resound­ing yes! Leav­ing this bible verse as an encour­age­ment for you:

Con­sid­er it pure joy, my broth­ers, and sis­ters, when­ev­er you face tri­als of many kinds because you know that the test­ing of your faith pro­duces per­se­ver­ance. Let per­se­ver­ance fin­ish its work so that you may be mature and com­plete, not lack­ing any­thing.” — James 1:2–4

 




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I blog about my dis­cov­er­ies and learn­ings with per­son­al devel­op­ment, blog­ging, writ­ing, pub­lic speak­ing, and pub­lish­ing. I am a Jesus fol­low­er. Each month, I send out a newslet­ter with free tips on those top­ics.

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