This morning I read a passage which gave a glimpse into the purpose of suffering…
1As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. (John 9:1-3)
If you read further in the passage, the blind man’s suffering turns to healing and the religious leaders are in an uproar because they do not understand who Jesus is- who healed the man. They are furious perhaps because they themselves have been unable to have such power. God was glorified when this man showed everyone what happened. The man had been blind from birth and now he could see! He couldn’t help but tell his story to his family and friends of what Jesus had done. They were all amazed and wanted to meet this Jesus.
Suffering and pain and hardship has a greater purpose that we do not see. In this case, the man was healed this side of heaven. Not always does physical healing occur – sometimes that is not in God’s plan. Because we are flesh and blood people, we always want to see a physical miracle- but that’s only the half of it.
I think of my own wilderness experience of pain and suffering and now see that there was a greater purpose. When I tell my story of how God brought me through my own wilderness of depression, often many are brought to tears and want to know Jesus more. They surrender their lives to Him and they too begin a journey of getting to know the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe- who became a man and went to His death in order for us to be restored to our Heavenly Father in a relationship. He gives us a hope and peace but it requires complete surrender on our part. Wishful thinking and motivational speaking can only do so much for our self-esteems. When we recognize that there is something beyond our self-esteems and that being our souls, we come to recognize what Jesus truly came for. He didn’t come so we could live easy and wealthy lives which often come with emptiness and boredom. He came so we could experience what an intimate relationship with the most powerful Being in the universe means.
My prayer today:
“Dear Father, I pray for all those who are calling to you in their pain and suffering. Many are hanging on. I ask that you give them a hope and that people close to them who hear your voice and know you will encourage them in their suffering and lift them up as they need. Let those suffering to be drawn to you, your Word, your hope, your perfect peace and wisdom so that they may press on – knowing you have a greater purpose for them. You are more powerful than our troubles and suffering. Thank you that you refused to leave us in the dark and chose to reach down and shine your light on us. Amen.”
If you are suffering and have not called out to God, I encourage you to do so. Jesus says…
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28
God wants to take your suffering and use it do a mighty thing! He has the most wonderful way of turning ashes into beauty.