[Column] Benefits of Suffering

Benefits of Suffering

Written By Rev.Dr. Joshua Hong

Senior Pastor of Full Gospel Church of Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.


Suffering enables us mature. Above all, it enables our spirit to produce a beautiful tune.  At an elevation of 3,000 meters of the Rocky Mountains is a tree line. The trees in this region cannot grow straight due to vicious winds and retain the form of “kneeling.” As ignominious an environment as it may be, the trees generate enormous endurance and perseverance for survival. It should be no surprise that the world’s premium violins with excellent resonance are made of these kneeling woods. A person who possesses a beautiful soul and produces an exquisite tune is not someone who was raised in an ideal condition without suffering. Rather he is a person who has undergone numerous hardships and sufferings. The life of those who dream is no different. Vicious winds at times cause them to kneel down and pray and to produce the most beautiful tune. Even in times of trials, trust in God. Trust that even in times of confusion God is with us. Inscribe in your heart the words from James 1:2: “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations.”

Suffering strengthens and establishes us. It is said that when Alfred Wallace, British naturalist, was young he helped a butterfly come out of its cocoon after seeing its intense struggle. He made a small slit on the cocoon. The butterfly easily came out of its cocoon but due to lack of “training” it fluttered its wings a few times, drooped and eventually died. Wallace must have felt sorry for letting the butterfly die prematurely. He didn’t know that as the butterfly presses its shoulders against a small opening the cocoon all the nutrients concentrated in the shoulders disperse throughout its wings enabling it to fly. Pure gold is obtained only after it goes through refining process in the heated furnace. Moses was used as a leader of his people only when he attained perseverance and endurance through 40 years of loneliness in the desert of Midian; Joseph, who was sold into slavery, lived a miracle of emerging as a civil authority in Egypt after wrongful imprisonment and numerous hardships; David was considered a man after God’s heart only when he underwent the fiery furnace of suffering in the midst of his wandering through the desert.

Suffering helps character formation. Howard Snyder said that experience is helpful in maximizing leaders’capacity. Despite visions and good character, a leader regardless of his excellent traits is doomed to make mistakes because of his lack of experience. God used the experience of suffering when preparing such leaders as Moses, Esther, and Joseph. Experience of suffering assists in character building. What kind of trials and suffering are you in?  Do not be discouraged and take heart. God is with you. You can make the most of suffering of life as the opportunity of maturity in your spiritual life.

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