strength through suffering

“Ascribe to the LORD. O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.”

Psalm 29:1

“There was once a letter sent from a woman who was suffering on a hospital bed in the last stages of cancer to a famous evangelist. She did not ask that God would relieve her of her suffering or raise her up, but only that we would pray that God’s grace would be sufficient through the trial of suffering.

The Bible teaches that human suffering is inescapable. We must accept it as an integral part of life. Job said, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble” (Job 14:1). Our life has its beginning in suffering. Life’s span is marked by pain and tragedy, and our lives end with the enemy called death. The person who expects to escape the pangs of suffering and disappointment simply has no knowledge of the Bible, of history, or of life.

The master musician knows that suffering precedes glory and acclaim. He knows the hours, days, and months of grueling practice and self-sacrifice that precede the one hour of perfect presentation when his efforts are applauded. The master craftsman knows that years of work, sacrifice, and suffering as an amateur precede his being promoted to the master of his trade. The student knows that years of study, self-denial, and commitment precede the triumphant day of graduation with honors. Astronauts spend years training for a flight that can be as short as a few days.

The Bible teaches that suffering is a part of life in a sinful world. Paul said, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).

To this dear woman on her hospital bed we can say, “Look toward heaven, look beyond the clouds, and you will see that the sufferings that we are undergoing here are nothing compared to the glory that God has prepared for you yonder.”

Our Father and our God, my help in time of trouble, I ascribe to You glory and honor. It is You who teaches me patience in the face of problems. It is You who holds me up when I fall down. It is You for whom I long and love. Help me to be ready, Lord, when You come to take me home with You forever. In Christ. Amen