Contentment In Suffering

Day 16 - April 9 / Elder Mark Harbeson

2 Corinthians 12:10

“For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

This seems kind of abstract, doesn’t it?  I’m having a hard time thinking of a calamity or hardship we’re enduring that would make this verse seem more timely.

The Christian is called to suffer.  The Bible makes no bones about this.  When Jesus calls us to “take up our cross and follow” him, it is not a message to be taken lightly.  

There is no one all-encompassing satisfactory answer as to why we suffer.  There are many possible reasons: our own sin and its consequences, the cruelty of others, discipline from the Lord, a trial to refine and sanctify us, or a means to develop compassion for others.  We often don’t understand a trial when we are in the midst of it—maybe not ever.  So how can we be content even in the midst of suffering?

1. Pursue Jesus.  “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”  (Matthew 11:28) .

2. Reach out.  Don’t suffer alone, because you are not alone.  This is one reason the church, the Body of Christ, exists.  There is nothing new under the sun—whatever you are going through, there will be someone who has walked that road ahead of you.  

3. Know that your suffering is temporary.  It never feels like it will end.  But it will.  Jesus wins in the end: In Revelation, he promises to wipe every tear from our eyes when we reach his kingdom.  It will have been worth it.  

4. James exhorts us to “count it as joy” when we face trials.  Easier said than done.  But he writes that the joy comes from knowing that it will strengthen our faith.

5. Consider the words of Paul in Romans chapter 5, and then reach out to find someone whom you can help through their trials as well: “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Prayer Points:
  • Read Romans 5:1-11.  Ask for endurance, character, and hope.
  • Ask God for wisdom in how to count suffering as joy.
  • Thank God for the assurance that He has overcome the world.
  • Don’t suffer alone.  Reach out if you are in need.
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