12 Reasons God Might Call You to Suffer

12 Reasons God Might Call You to Suffer

Once a year, everyone should fly into their home airport at sunset. 

That’s what I did today and it was amazing. Little did I realize that less than ten minutes flying-time south of downtown Chicago is mile upon mile of red barns and farmland. The freeways that edge the city’s outskirts connect like patterns of lace. And familiar businesses and homes look downright spectacular washed in the glow of the setting sun. 

But all too soon our descent took us into O’Hare and our perspective became horizontal again. Once again we were part of the scene, rather than awestruck observers. 

Having a horizontally-challenged perspective is a big part of what makes us human. Too often, the limited perspective makes us believe this moment is all that is and the scene in front of us is all that will ever be.

Of course we know better than that, but at times that’s how it feels. 

When we willingly put our hand in God’s hand and walk with Him into whatever He allows, for whatever reason He has planned, we are walking by faith and not by sight.

That difficult season you are enduring today? He has determined where it ends. 

That painful relationship that has led your heart away? He traces the route out for your return. 

You may not see it, but God is working His character in you in a way you would not believe . . . even if you did see it. 

So, if you’re struggling today, I’ve got good news for you. Spoiler alert! Not to wreck the ending, but it’s going to be OK. And if it’s not OK yet, then it’s not the end.

Here are 12 reasons you might be called to suffer: 

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  • 1. So God may show us how to want what He wants (James 1:3).

    We don’t always naturally want what God wants. Sometimes we want what we want – but God can use suffering to remind us that what he wants and what we want do not need to be at odds with each other. When we suffer, we get to cling to God, and ultimately, we know we can find peace when we get on board with his plan for our lives.

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  • 2. So God may motivate us to follow Him (Hebrews 5:8).

    Following God seems easy when everything is going your way, right? But when hard times hit, we realize what it means to follow God in the darkness, and what it might cost us. But we also know that not following him just isn’t an option. Without God, we would be lost.

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  • 3. So that we might be a comfort to each other (2 Corinthians 1:6).

    One of the amazing graces that God gives us is one another. He knows that some pains hurt more than we can bear, and he not only gives himself as comfort, he gives friends and other believers to us for support and encouragement. If you’re not currently in a season of suffering, perhaps take a look around you and see who is, and how you might help that person experience God’s love and care.

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  • 4. To keep us from doing our own thing that could hurt us (2 Corinthians 12:7).

    Sometimes suffering hurts, but a mature Christian sees that not following God, not leaning on him during our suffering, hurts even more.

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  • 5. So that we might point others to God’s amazingness (1 Peter 4:16).

    In the midst of suffering, we have the amazing opportunity to bear witness to God through our actions and attitudes. No, you shouldn’t ‘grin and bear it’ – but can you point others to the faith you’re clinging to as you suffer? What an amazing opportunity to share the good news of the gospel just by faithfully enduring your trial!

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  • 6. So that we may identify with Jesus a little more (Philippians 3:10).

    This is maybe one of the best “gifts” of suffering. When you suffer deeply, you get to understand a side of Jesus that many don’t. You realize the depths he went to in order to cleanse the world of deadly sin. Thank you Jesus that you can relate to all of our sufferings!

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  • 7. So that our faith might grow a little stronger (1 Peter 5:10).

    Living through a hard trial will grow your faith like little else. Seeing God rescue you from the pit of despair and pain is a daily reminder that your eternal life is also saved and redeemed by him.

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  • 8. So that others would see us and be compelled to follow us to Jesus (2 Timothy 2:10).

    When others see the example you set, but suffering in faith, may their hearts cry out to Jesus for that same life giving, hope-filling salvation.

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  • 9. To make us an example of what a life entrusted to God looks like (Romans 8:28).

    There are few more powerful witnesses to the steadfast love and rescue of God than a believer when, suffering greatly, still believes in their God who will redeem their life.

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  • 10. To move others to pray and depend on God what only He can do (2 Corinthians 1:10-11).

    Think of the opportunity others have to pray for you- and let them see God work through the power of prayer as they do!

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  • 11. To train us to go to God first for help (Psalms 30:6-7).

    When we hit moments of deep suffering, we find that all the things we depended on for security—money, family, work, recreation and other pleasures—all of those things will fail us. Only God can save completely and fully, and when deep suffering conditions us to go to God before all things.

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  • 12. To give us a special experience of God’s presence and an amazing story to tell others (James 4:6-7).

    Very few have as deep experiences of God’s presence and hand on them as men and women who have suffered great hardships. When God puts you in a hard place, rest assured he will make himself known in mighty ways.

    Thank you God that you meet us in hardships, surround us with love and cover us with your care! May we take the lessons of suffering and growth our faith in you.

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    Barb Peil has realized recently how rich and fruitful it is to be a woman after God’s heart—single or married, young or mature, fulfilled or struggling in any other area of life—doesn’t matter. It all comes down to ‘my heart for God.’ You can read her blog at letters2myself.com—a website for all women to seek and share wisdom at every stage of life.