The Blessing in Our Suffering

The Blessing in Our Suffering

“Measure thy life by loss instead of gain… for love’s strength standeth in love’s sacrifice, and whoso suffers most hath most to give.” (Ugo Bassi)

This fall has felt like walking through a hard, dry land in the darkness of night. I am still trying to learn how to tell this story of walking through darkness when all can be seen as seemingly good. And how to speak in ways that God remains in the center of it all.

Forgiveness, I have learned, is truly a decision. Forgiveness is something that I, as a believer, will have to extend whether the apology comes or not. So a choice is made, day by day — but the rawness of heart remains, for a long time.

Being a leader and being in ministry means having a soft heart and a thick skin. And that thickness of skin? Comes with being rubbed raw. It comes with wounds and scars. So we walk through this season of thankless jobs, though they come with great blessings. Sometimes it just takes a while to behold the blessings when our heart is hurting.

In seasons of ministry, there can be intense spiritual warfare. And I know I am not the only one affected by this. I see the hardness, the suffering, the hurting around me. Spiritual warfare has come in many shapes and sizes. There has been great and unexpected loss — whether finances, relationships, strength, dreams or hopes. There has been many wounds, those ill-spoken words and misjudged deeds. With all these, come fear and doubts.

The Blessing in Our Suffering

But behind all this? Is growth.

I am walking slowly in this increasing awareness of how this — all this, this hurt and suffering and hardship and darkness. It can be a blessing. It is a blessing. Because in our suffering, we relate to Christ who suffered. And in our suffering, Christ relates to us in our hurting.

I don’t know yet how exactly it makes sense to measure life by loss instead of gain… and yet it does. Because sacrifice is what brought us to Love Himself. Suffering is what breached that gap that sin has left between us and God.

I know I often count those things that were taken from me. Whether it is health, relationships, finances, dreams or possibilities. I count that which I lost. But behind all that is the sense of losing what I thought was promised to me. But here, measuring life by loss? I am starting to count the ways Christ is giving me chances to grow.

And here’s the thing that is captivating my mind right now. This process of growing? This process of sanctification? It happens only now. It happens only in this life. For the next life I have is eternity, and there is no suffering there. I will be made perfect. So this (eventually) beautiful process of growing to become more like Christ? I am given only now. We are given only now.

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  1. What a beautiful way to say it “Being a leader and being in ministry means having a soft heart and a thick skin”. I often felt that way as a school teacher. Blessings to you in this hard season.

  2. Forgiveness certainly is a choice. And it’s not one we can make once and then never have to make again for a situation. I’ve learned I have to continually forgive in order to live in the freedom of God’s grace!

  3. Your post is spot on. My ministry family has been walking through a spiritual battle for a few months now. I had a pastor pray for me a few years ago that God would give me thick skin. I’m thankful because now I suffer with more grace. This sentence, “Being a leader and being in ministry means having a soft heart and a thick skin.”. Now I must ask God to help me keep a soft heart. God forbid if my heart becomes callused by the fiery darts thrown my way by default, because I am married to the preacher. Lord help me!

    1. I find that it really is so important for us to have a soft heart and a thick skin in ministry! Thick skin to bear all the hurt and spiritual battle; but a soft heart is so important so that we keep hearing the Lord and yielding to His will. Thank you for visiting here today!

  4. I’m thinking similar thoughts. Honestly our faith wouldn’t grow without the trial. Our hope is skewed when things are good all the time. And we don’t have the opportunity to truly see Christ without the crisis.
    Somehow we think perfect means no problems but He was perfect yet he had to be crucified.
    So perhaps all problems are blessings that reorient our minds and hearts to Him.

    Thanks for sharing and hosting.

    1. So true, Nylse — our faith wouldn’t grow without trials! Some things that are good for us, are just hard to go through so that we get to grow through them. Thank you for visiting here once again! God bless

  5. As I ran errands, this is the line I was thinking on> “Because in our suffering, we relate to Christ who suffered. And in our suffering, Christ relates to us in our hurting.” I am so very grateful we serve a relational Savior. Beautiful post!

    1. Exactly, Joanne! So thankful that this truly is a relationship and not a religion — and we get all the benefits of a relationship, too. Thank you for visiting here once again! God bless you

    1. I’m so glad these words weren’t just for me, Lauren! And thank you for your prayers, they are very much appreciated! God bless you

  6. Ronja … resonating with so much of what you’ve shared, having been in ministry for many years. Grateful to have bumped into you over at Mary’s this morning.

  7. So much truth in your words here! Our suffering unites us! We may not all know the thrill of success in this life, but we do all know suffering and that suffering not only connects us to each other, but ultimately to our suffering Savior! Blessings!

  8. Visiting from Fueled by Fire link up. A great post. I love your statement, “I am starting to count the ways Christ is giving me chances to grow.” I want to look at life in this way rather than feeling frustrated or discouraged, instead look at suffering, trials, pain etc as opportunities to grow. Thank you so much for sharing this! Sweet blessings to you!

  9. I love this! This wonderful reminder that there is so much to learn and grow from in those hard moments. I have had some of those over the last few years. They were hard, and no fun, but what God has done in me through that…Well it is just amazing! I looked for and prayed for the next “fear” so that I could grow in the Father. He is refining us all the time, but we learn the most through the hard times it seems. Thank you for such a great post!

    Thanks for linking up @LiveLifeWell!