No one should seek out suffering, but we don't need to shrink from it. We can gain something from suffering that can be gained no other way.
For example, early in my business career success went to my head. The hubris threatened my soul, but I was helpless to do anything about it in my own strength. I wanted to, but I lacked the power. So God orchestrated a seven year long crisis to get my attention.
The pain was excruciating, and I tried everything humanly possible to make it go away. But that was not to be. God loved me too much to let me destroy myself, which I was certainly on the path to do.
I was like a three-year-old child at the beach who wanted to play in the glistening surf. When his father wasn't looking, he bolted across the sand toward the enticing waves. But what attracts can also destroy. So when his father saw his son darting toward the powerful, pounding waves he ran swiftly across the sand. He scooped up his three-year-old son just as a five feet tall breaker was about to come crashing down on him.
So what did the three-year-old do? Did he look adoringly into the eyes of his father and say, "Oh father, thank you for sparing me from certain destruction!"
Of course not. He threw a temper tantrum. Why? Because he didn't get what he wanted. He thought his father was making him suffer, when what he really did was spare the boy from self-destruction. That's what happened to me. God saved me from destroying myself, but at the time I was disappointed that I was being spared. That may be what's happening to you.
Sometimes what we think is suffering is a gift, even if it doesn't feel like a gift at the time.
Until every church disciples every man…