Can Anything Good Come from Suffering?

Leah DiPascal

Day: 30 | Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Today’s Reading: Job 30

Job 30:15-17 (NIV) “Terrors overwhelm me; my dignity is driven away as by the wind, my safety vanishes like a cloud. And now my life ebbs away; days of suffering grip me. Night pierces my bones; my gnawing pains never rest.”

Can anything good come from suffering? Is it possible that our hardships and heartbreaks can create something worth keeping? If so, what is it?

After reflecting on the past and remembering the good ol’ days, Job is jarred back into his bleak reality. The good life he once enjoyed has been disfigured into a gnawing existence that seems a persistent punishment. What a dramatic contrast!

Maybe for a few, brief moments Job was able to mentally escape the pain and heartache as he reminisced on the blessings of his former life … when his children were alive and his relationship with God was a treasured friendship. When laughter and joyful conversations were a consistent part of his days. And when his lush fields were bursting with abundant crops and healthy animals.

Back then, Job was respected by others in the community who spoke highly of him and sought his counsel. But now, no one in the community admired Job or wanted to be like him. No longer did anyone ask for his noble advice.

Instead of sitting at the city gate in honor, Job was banished from his community, sinking in a pile of dust and ashes. Even the lowly outcasts of the community were hostile towards Job. Young vandals took advantage of his weakened condition, repeatedly attacking Job and making him the object of their sarcastic slang. They even spit in his face. As Job's safety and dignity vanished, the sufferings continued to swell. (Job 30:15)

It's a miracle Job didn't take his own life or lose his sanity from all of the trauma he endured. Job may not have realized it at the time, but his suffering was creating much more than soul brokenness and despair. It was simultaneously producing perseverance. How?

After all that Job had been through, he was still asking questions … still voicing his opinions … still expressing his emotions … still searching for God … and grasping for a sliver of hope in his hopeless situation.

In his own way, Job was still fighting for his life – although from his angle, it didn't appear there was much left of it. Sure, it may not have been the kind of perseverance that looks heroic or audacious to some, but Job was absolutely persevering through his suffering.

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul talks about the connection between sufferings and perseverance. Here's what he said.

“We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).

Paul didn't say great opportunities or life's biggest moments produce perseverance. No, he said “suffering produces perseverance” – plus, character and hope!

We will all face suffering in our lives. Every single one of us. Trying to avoid it is like trying to avoid breathing and remain alive. It simply won't happen.

It’s human nature to only reflect on the bad parts of our past or present sufferings. But Paul challenges us to consider the good that is produced and the glory that can come from it.

Just like we will soon see in Job's life, our trials will ultimately lead us towards a magnificent end, if we keep pursuing and trusting God. We're not promised it will all happen here on earth, but what awaits us for eternity is both glorious and absolutely worth persevering for.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the hope and promise of a magnificent future that You've secured and have waiting for me in heaven. Help me to always remember that the sufferings I face today are temporary and are creating healthy roots of perseverance, character and hope in me. Suffering alone would be unbearable, but knowing You are here gives me peace and assurance to make it through another day. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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