In life, testing is more often than not “par for the course.” But sometimes God rescues us from our plight, bringing us into new circumstances. For 13 years Joseph had been a slave in Egypt. And all the while, His plans for Joseph were in motion, leading Joseph to the cusp of his release from prison and an unexpected blessing. Through Joseph’s example, we should be encouraged to trust God—even in difficult times of waiting.
In the process of living and dying in a sin-cursed world we experience distress, agony, and misery due to pain, disease, loss, and damage. We call it suffering. Everyone experiences it sooner or later. It is part of the human condition. Some of it we bring on ourselves. Some of us suffer through no fault of our own.
Besides being difficult physically, emotionally, and spiritually, the fact that suffering often appears to have no rhyme or reason, and appears meaningless adds a measure of psychological suffering. Suffering is easier to endure if we can attach some meaning or purpose to it.
While we can't often control the sources of our suffering, we can control our response to it. God gives us direction as to how to respond so as to make it meaningful. We hope these resources help you turn suffering into a situation to praise God for His strength amid your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9b).
The pain of unjust suffering—one of the most severe trials we can experience—tests our faith like nothing else. In our world today, we can’t escape it. As difficult as injustice is to endure, the greater challenge is facing it with an attitude that preserves faith. For the most part, we can’t control what happens to us today or tomorrow, whether fair or foul. But we can choose our attitude.
The Nazis stripped Victor Frankl’s life down to almost nothing. Once a renowned psychiatrist, Frankl was reduced to being a slave labourer at the notorious death camp Auschwitz. He could have seethed with hate and self-pity but, instead, Frankl realized that the Nazis could never steal, shape, or dictate his attitude.
Often we can’t control difficult circumstances but there are ways to change our perspective and responses, which can help transform suffering into something positive. Here are some perspectives to help transform suffering.
The Bible says, “give thanks in all circumstances…” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV). But being thankful for trials doesn’t seem right and we wonder if that is what God really wants of us.
True to James 1:2-4, my troubles tested my faith. They brought hardship and hidden tears, but, also true to Scripture, they became opportunities for great joy. Here are several insights I gleaned through my experience.
Crises are deemed to be negative changes in life especially when they occur abruptly. Since a crisis is a testing time or an emergency event, we may panic, become stressed, or struggle to cope as a result.
For the rest of the missions trip, I thought about Jesus' ministry and the compassion He must have felt for the many people He encountered. People He taught, healed, and those who desperately cried out to Him.
Being compassionate or not is all about what you look at and see. The fact that we don't like seeing pain makes compassion difficult, but compassion only occurs in the context of another's pain.