Suffering And Its Value

At first glance, the title seems to be a mistake. You mean there is value in suffering? How can? Singaporeans will ask. Well, the answer is: biblically, yes.  

Jesus Christ is the supreme example. This is the period of Lent – starting 18 February to 2 April, the eve of Good Friday. Jesus’ suffering in this time is emotionally, mentally, and physically acutely intense, to say the least. But the value of His suffering is of course our redemption and salvation—and that is of course of greatest value to our souls.


In our own lives, we may not be able to see the value of our own suffering during the time of trial. It may be years later before we could detect its value. At the time we are suffering, it may be emotionally difficult to realize the value, but we all know that the testing of our faith can produce good results (James 1:2-4; Rom 5:1-4; 2 Cor 12:7-10; 1 Pet 5:10; Heb 12:5-8). Likewise we believe, God will not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability (1 Cor 10:13) and there is a final resting place where no one will endure any pain (Heb 4:1). This knowledge may help us to consider some of the value of suffering.


We would have opportunity to learn things about ourselves we might not learn in any other way. Suffering may lead us to know more of who we are, what we stand for, and how committed we are to the Lord.


Our suffering can teach us to trust in God, not ourselves. Paul and his co-workers suffered to such an extent; he said they "had the sentence of death;" but he went on to say, "that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead," (2 Cor 1:9). We need to learn that we humans are not able to control everything, or even cope with everything. It may be in time of trial, when we feel like we are sentenced to death, that we really learn to trust in God, not ourselves.


Our suffering may cause us to think about things we would not otherwise consider. It is one thing to study what the Bible says about persecution – but when you are persecuted, you may give greater consideration to the whole subject. It has now become personal.


Suffering always equips us to better sympathize with other sufferers, not during our own trial, but later.


And remember this: We not only suffer, we enjoy many blessings as well. Jesus’ suffering to the point of death gives us victory over death—it gives us life—and the power to overcome our earthly suffering.


Pastor Robert Chew