Does it ever feel like your suffering is a waste?
It can be really hard to see through suffering, because it’s always right in our face, demanding that we look it in the eye. The headache. The difficult job. The tight budget. The constant conflict with your unsaved spouse.
We can be tempted to think, is God doing anything? Why am I going through this? How can any good come out of this absolutely awful situation?
But thankfully, our suffering isn’t for nothing. God has a reason, a purpose, the smile of providence behind the dark clouds. James tells us:
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)
Do you notice how James tells us to count it joy when we encounter trials of various kinds? Not just big, “I’ll probably give a testimony about this someday” kind of trials. All trials. Even the little, annoying things, that don’t seem exactly like trials but still tempt us to grumble and complain. Yeah, count those as joy too.
Why? Because God is using every trial to produce steadfastness in us. God doesn’t want us to be weak, easily knocked down, weak-kneed Christians. He wants steadfast, strong, faithful, promise-believing Christians, who have had their faith tested and strengthened by trials.
He doesn’t waste suffering. Not one minute of heartache or one bit of headache is wasted by God. It’s all ordained by him for the purpose of making us steadfast.
So don’t give up. Don’t give in to despair. You can count your trials as joy because God is using to harden your faith.