Each and every person will go through a time of suffering, but how are we, as Christians, supposed to respond in those times? In this video, speaker and author, Kelly Minter, walks through a biblical response to suffering and how Jesus meets us there, even in our darkest times.
The entire video is above, and the complete transcript is below.
None of us want to suffer. None of us want to go through suffering, but the truth is that we will all suffer at some point in our lives and probably at multiple different points at multiple different levels.
Suffering is a really important topic to me. Obviously all of us have suffered. I’ve had lots of different things that have played into some of my suffering. I know as a child I had just profound, paralyzing anxiety. I went through some really dark, dark, dark seasons of depression. My dad was a pastor and so you’d think that we just slap a verse on that and we’d all be good. But, there were things that I didn’t have great answers to. And so there have definitely been some real significant seasons of suffering in my own life.
One of the reasons why I chose to write a Bible study on 2 Corinthians a few years ago was because, and some of you all will be familiar with this, but near the end of 2 Corinthians Paul talks about this thorn in his flesh. And he talks about suffering. And he says, “I’ve pleaded with the Lord three times that the Lord would pull this out or remove this” (2 Corinthians 12:7-8). We don’t know what the suffering was, but whatever it was, Paul pleaded for it to be removed. And yet, we find Jesus actually speaking to Paul, and saying, “My grace is sufficient for you and My strength is going to be perfect in your weakness” (2 Corinthians 12: 9).
So, here’s something practical that I’ve seen in suffering, both in my own life and in the lives of others, is that what we choose to do with our suffering will have a profound affect on sometimes on how long we’re in it and how we go through it.
Now, the times in my life where I have allowed Jesus to do His work in me through suffering, those are the times when I have been most changed. And we know this to be true, that when we go through hard times, those are the times that change us and they can change us for better or they can change us for worse.
But suffering has a way of shaving off the hard edges. It has a way of sanctifying us if we’ll let it do it’s work. And as I’m in those times I try to bend into the Lord and say, “Lord, do Your work. Make me more like Yourself.” And when I’m able to do that, when I choose to do that, the Lord softens me, He humbles me, He makes me much more compassionate for the people that are around me.
But there have also been times where I have bowed up under the suffering, where I have gotten angry, where I have bristled. And you what ends up happening there? We get bitter, we get hard, we can sometimes become unforgiving. And that’s when suffering does its work in us that’s not positive, that’s not helpful.
In the beginning of 2 Corinthians, chapter 1, Paul talks about the God of all comfort and the Father of compassion. And he talks about the comfort that comes through Jesus in our suffering that then spills on to others. That when we’ve experienced comfort in our sufferings, we then have the opportunity to go and comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
I think there’s so much positive and so much good that can come out of suffering. And honestly, if you’re in a season like that right now, I would press into it and I would ask the Lord, “Lord, what are You doing in my life? What do You want me to see? How do You want to change me? And comfort me so that I can then go and comfort other people.”
You guys, I know this hard, but I will tell you just personally that suffering, though it is so painful when we’re in it, it has been one of the greatest gifts. Not the suffering itself, but how Jesus meets us in our suffering. And you and I have a choice to meet Jesus in our suffering. And if we do and if we choose that, His grace really will be sufficient and His strength really will be made powerful in our weakness and we’ll have a comfort to offer others.