Three Powerful Reasons We Rejoice In The Midst Of Suffering

Suffering is not fun or easy. But with God we can learn to rejoice in our suffering, because of the positive fruit it can produce.

Three Powerful Reasons We Rejoice In The Midst Of Suffering

September 2, 2021

No one likes to suffer. Or at least, we don’t want to suffer unnecessarily. We’ve all heard the phrase: No pain, No gain. Although we normally associate these words with today’s exercise and fitness industries, this principle can apply to other parts of our lives. 

In last week’s blog post, I shared the Apostle Paul’s perspective. (You can read the blog post here.) As he explained in his second letter to the Corinthians, through suffering he learned to depend on God, rather than himself (2 Corinthians 1:8-9). In the same letter, Paul shared three other benefits we receive when we trust God in our suffering. 

Suffering Teaches Us To Comfort Others

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV)

As Paul and his companions leaned into God’s strength, they experienced His comfort. The Greek word translated as comfort, parakaleó, means to exhort or to encourage. While we may understand comfort as expressing sympathy, the actual word in Greek carries the idea of strengthening others. Paul learned how to comfort other people through the comfort he received from God. While suffering may not be the path I would naturally choose, it does create unique opportunities for us to help one another.

Suffering Deepens Connections

For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:5-7 NIV)

Suffering created a commonality between the Corinthians and Paul. Most likely the Corinthians didn’t share the exact nature of Paul’s tribulations. But like Paul, they experienced God’s comfort as a result of what they suffered. This created a patient endurance, or the ability to remain steadfast in the face of adversity. In Paul’s words I sense the close connection they formed by sharing in each other’s difficulties. In my own relationships I’ve found deeper and long-lasting bonds are created, not during life’s light-hearted moments, but rather through sharing times of painful struggle.  

Suffering Produces Prayer Warriors

After Paul described his overwhelming troubles (2 Corinthians 1:8-9), he shared about God’s deliverance. 

He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many. (2 Corinthians 1:10-11 NIV)

Paul believed the prayers of the Christians helped him during his difficulties. Nothing has the power to drive me to my knees like suffering. I have never prayed so much or so often as I have since March of 2020. 

One of my favorite prayers can be found in Paul’s greeting in this letter:

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
To the church of God in Corinth, together with all his holy people throughout Achaia:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:1-2 NIV)

Paul filled all of his letters with encouragement and instruction for his brothers and sisters. Although each church faced different issues, he always greeted them with a prayer for grace and peace. Over the last few weeks and months, I’ve learned everyone around me is struggling with something. I may not know the specifics, but I am confident God’s grace and peace can help each of us face any storm that comes our way. 

Suffering is not fun, nor is it easy. I never want to minimize the very real pain caused by suffering. But I’ve learned God can use it to produce positive fruit in our lives.

As I walk through these difficult times, I pray to rejoice, not in suffering, but in the fruit it produces. Wherever you are in your journey, I pray you can do the same. And may we all receive comfort from the One who leads us home.

Three Powerful Reasons We Rejoice In The Midst Of Suffering

September 2, 2021

Suffering is not fun or easy. But with God we can learn to rejoice in our suffering, because of the positive fruit it can produce.

No one likes to suffer. Or at least, we don’t want to suffer unnecessarily. We’ve all heard the phrase: No pain, No gain. Although we normally associate these words with today’s exercise and fitness industries, this principle can apply to other parts of our lives. 

In last week’s blog post, I shared the Apostle Paul’s perspective. (You can read the blog post here.) As he explained in his second letter to the Corinthians, through suffering he learned to depend on God, rather than himself (2 Corinthians 1:8-9). In the same letter, Paul shared three other benefits we receive when we trust God in our suffering. 

Suffering Teaches Us To Comfort Others

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV)

As Paul and his companions leaned into God’s strength, they experienced His comfort. The Greek word translated as comfort, parakaleó, means to exhort or to encourage. While we may understand comfort as expressing sympathy, the actual word in Greek carries the idea of strengthening others. Paul learned how to comfort other people through the comfort he received from God. While suffering may not be the path I would naturally choose, it does create unique opportunities for us to help one another.

Suffering Deepens Connections

For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:5-7 NIV)

Suffering created a commonality between the Corinthians and Paul. Most likely the Corinthians didn’t share the exact nature of Paul’s tribulations. But like Paul, they experienced God’s comfort as a result of what they suffered. This created a patient endurance, or the ability to remain steadfast in the face of adversity. In Paul’s words I sense the close connection they formed by sharing in each other’s difficulties. In my own relationships I’ve found deeper and long-lasting bonds are created, not during life’s light-hearted moments, but rather through sharing times of painful struggle.  

Suffering Produces Prayer Warriors

After Paul described his overwhelming troubles (2 Corinthians 1:8-9), he shared about God’s deliverance. 

He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many. (2 Corinthians 1:10-11 NIV)

Paul believed the prayers of the Christians helped him during his difficulties. Nothing has the power to drive me to my knees like suffering. I have never prayed so much or so often as I have since March of 2020. 

One of my favorite prayers can be found in Paul’s greeting in this letter:

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
To the church of God in Corinth, together with all his holy people throughout Achaia:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:1-2 NIV)

Paul filled all of his letters with encouragement and instruction for his brothers and sisters. Although each church faced different issues, he always greeted them with a prayer for grace and peace. Over the last few weeks and months, I’ve learned everyone around me is struggling with something. I may not know the specifics, but I am confident God’s grace and peace can help each of us face any storm that comes our way. 

Suffering is not fun, nor is it easy. I never want to minimize the very real pain caused by suffering. But I’ve learned God can use it to produce positive fruit in our lives.

As I walk through these difficult times, I pray to rejoice, not in suffering, but in the fruit it produces. Wherever you are in your journey, I pray you can do the same. And may we all receive comfort from the One who leads us home.

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4 Comments

  1. AnnMarie on September 5, 2021 at 4:06 PM

    Great perspective, Shirley!

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on September 5, 2021 at 5:30 PM

      Thank you AnnMarie! 💕

  2. Vida on September 6, 2021 at 5:00 AM

    So true about the different suffering people around the world are going through at this time. I can relate to praying like I’ve never prayed before since March 2020.

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on September 6, 2021 at 9:13 AM

      Thank you Vida! I’ve learned prayer carries two blessings: it draws me nearer to God, and to the people for whom I pray. 💕

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