When Suffering Builds Bridges

Isn’t it peculiar how we yearn for a stronger faith yet recoil at the notion of suffering to attain it? It’s like wishing for muscles without enduring the pain of lifting weights.

You might wonder, “Why can’t God just bestow a robust faith upon me?” But if faith were freely given without adversity, would it hold any lasting value? It’s a bit like comparing a child’s joy when handed a toy versus the joy of having earned it. The earned toy, even if it’s simple and worn out, often remains treasured, while others are left forgotten in a toy box.

But then, the inevitable question arises: “How does my suffering benefit the Almighty?” The scripture offers solace in Romans 8:28, “…all things work together for good to them that love God…” So, even in the midst of anguish, God is shaping it for a greater purpose. It’s a tough pill to swallow, especially when the pain feels overwhelming.

The truth? It’s in those moments of absolute vulnerability when our spirits are crushed and our reserves are depleted, that we turn to God wholeheartedly. We’re drawn closer, conversing deeply and genuinely, understanding our undeniable reliance on Him. As a result, our relationship with Him intensifies, making the connection even more profound.

Fast forward to the storm’s end, when we’re navigating calm waters again. This same God nudges us to become a source of strength for others. Reflect on Colossians 1:24, where Paul feels he’s fulfilling what’s lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of the Church. Wait, what? Lacking in Christ’s afflictions? How?

Jesus, in his time on Earth, suffered immensely – from betrayal to separation from the Father. Yet, he didn’t face every conceivable human suffering. He didn’t endure divorce, battle cancer, lose a child, or grapple with modern afflictions like drug addiction. This isn’t to diminish Christ’s suffering but to highlight that through our own trials, we can uniquely comfort others.

Sharing affliction forms some of the strongest bonds. At life’s lowest points, we seek anchors. And who better to offer solace than someone who’s trudged the same path? They provide hope, a genuine understanding that, indeed, it gets better. This is invaluable, not just within the Church but also to those outside it. If Christians never encountered hardship, how could we offer solace to the world? How could we reflect a compassionate God, one who resonates with their pain and desires their restoration?

In Luke 6:40, it’s said, “A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.” Jesus, our Rabonni, suffered for the world’s salvation. As believers, our path mirrors His. Suffering isn’t merely a test—it’s an opportunity to show the world the essence of our Savior.

Let’s embrace God’s design, facing storms with unwavering faith. For in our trials, we not only grow closer to Him but become beacons of hope for others. All glory to Him.

Previous articleRediscovering the Heart of Discipleship
Next articleUnearthing the Roots of True Belonging
Pastor James Costa earned his degree in Theology from the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. After graduation, he dedicated his career to serving as a pastor in Waco, Texas. Pastor James founded Faith Activist during the COVID-19 pandemic when he faced challenges in reaching people due to the lockdowns. He realized the potential of digital media to connect with people and spread the message of the gospel, leading him to create an online platform to help people grow in their faith and engage with other believers.