Scriptures to read: Isaiah 48:10 – 48:11; 2nd Corinthians 12:8-12:10 and 1st Peter 4:12
‘I have refined you in the furnace of suffering’
It is very easy to be sucked into the present age where we are encouraged to share our highlights, our mountain-top experiences, our best days and best moments. It requires an incredible amount of courage to share your darkest experiences with anyone, let alone the world.
So when I decided to publicly share my near-death experience of a sudden rare illness with my brothers and sisters all over the world, I was met with awe, comfort and the occasional ‘why would she share that’?
The truth is, we do not talk about suffering unless we are. We don’t inherently desire to share our suffering. Yet, suffering is part of the human existence. Even still, suffering is a key feature of the Christian walk. 1 Peter 4:12 says, “do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” Suffering is not strange, it is normal.
We often don’t hear this preached from the pulpit, but the biblical reality is, when you decide to live your life for God, you will experience suffering. You are not exempt from trials or challenges. You are only exempt from a ‘lack of purpose’ because God’s perfect purpose, heart and intent for us is revealed in every situation.
Whatever that ‘suffering’ looks like, whether it is sickness, loss, heartbreak or abandonment, because you have decided to follow God, you are met with this assurance that every detail of your life has been woven together by God. There is no thread of your life that is pointless or a waste, even the tough experiences.
I have no doubt that the most common question that we ask God when we encounter suffering is; ‘God, why is this happening to me?’ I know this because it was the same question that I asked God when I received my diagnosis of this rare serious illness.
God’s response to me was, ‘Why not you?’
He counseled my frantic heart and helped me understand that suffering does six things for the believer:
- Suffering strips away this false sense of all togetherness and self-sufficiency and makes you realise that every breath depends on God. It allows us to come to the end of ourselves and enter the ‘rest’ of Abba Father.
- Suffering refines us and does not burn us. It refines our relationship with God, our prayer life, our worship and our character!
- Suffering implores us to do the counter-intuitive thing which is to ‘boast in our weakness’. It is a great witness that allows people to see the process and not just the highlights. They see the fire and the gold.
- Suffering can and will strengthen your faith if you learn how to suffer ‘well’.
- Suffering is purposeful. There is beauty in the beast of suffering.
- Suffering points to Jesus.
We will explore these six areas throughout the devotional as we learn how to suffer ‘well’.
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Beauty In The Beast Devotional (Videos included) – (£5 subsidised)
Exclusive access to the ‘Beauty In The Beast’ Devotional with a small contribution towards Doctor Kanayo’s creative ministry. The e-devotional will be emailed to the address provided within 24 hours of purchase. We are told to reject suffering and pain, but what do you do when you are confronted with the prospect of death? This devotional draws you into Kanayo’s testimony of battling a ‘one in a million’ rare serious illness called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. We journey with her suffering, healing, finding beauty in the beast of pain and ultimately learn how to suffer ‘well’.