‘Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;’ Romans 5.3
It must be said that this is not our usual attitude to suffering; more often than not we fight it, pray against it and avoid it like the plague! How on earth are we meant to glory in our sufferings, especially when we believe in the God who heals?
There are a number of points to make here. The first is that suffering does not necessarily mean sickness. Never once did Jesus encourage a sick person to patiently endure their sickness. His reaction to it was always to set the person free from the effects of it. The second thing to bear in mind alongside this is that Jesus did encourage perseverance in prayer. By doing this, he intimated that prayer will sometimes not be answered as quickly as we would like. It does not mean that God is unwilling to act, but that his timescale might be different to ours.
Perhaps first you need to identify the hard things in your life; they may not seem like terrible sufferings compared to others, but they are still causing hurt and anxiety. The next step is to consider what effect they are having upon you. Are they wearing you out or are you able to recognise that the waiting is producing godly and patient endurance? Whichever option you select, it’s worth talking to Jesus about it!
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission
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