“And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.” 1Peter 5:10
I define suffering as something going on in your life that is not the way you want it right now. You wake up and things aren’t the way you want them. You go to bed and things are still not the way you want them, and no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to make these difficult things go away. It might be something physical, financial, relational, emotional, spiritual, or more than one of these at the same time. The gap between how things are compared to how they should be causes us pain until the gap is closed. What we do with the suffering of that time is extremely important to God.
Some get offended with God because they thought if they served God it would mean He would make their lives comfortable. In the text above we see that our calling is to “His eternal glory in Christ.” God allows things in our lives because His vision for us is often much higher than ours. We just want to be happy right now; He’s making us holy for all eternity.
Some people resent suffering so they feel they have the right to complain to all who will listen. God encourages us to bring our complaint to Him and pour out our hearts before Him (Psalm 62:8) but to be careful how we speak to people. When believers grumble about their lives they are a negative witness for God and betraying the very faith they profess. (Psalm 73:15)
Others minimize their suffering by comparing their trials to what other people are bearing, and scold themselves for being such a cry baby. “What I’m going through is nothing compared to what someone else is going through so I should just suck it up.” In this scenario our suffering isn’t acknowledged, so it is buried instead of offered to God.
Instead of any of these wrong responses, God is calling each of us to embrace the crosses He brings into our lives and offer them back to Him as an act of worship. I don’t have to understand why I am suffering to trust God’s purpose in it. Make a bouquet of every problem in your life and give it to God each day, or several times a day, if necessary. “Cast your cares upon Him for He cares for you.” (1Peter 5:7)