When I observe the culture of our day, I see comfort and happiness dangled before us as the goal and measure of a successful life. I love comfort as much as the next guy, but as a follower of Christ I must honestly ask myself if seeking comfort and happiness is the path of the Christian life.
Scripture shows us that trials are for our growth. I believe a great danger which looms as a result of the idolatry of comfort is the development of an inaccurate view of trial, suffering, and struggle.
Scripture tells us that the purpose in our trials is preparation and growth. In fact, according to Romans 8:16-17, we must suffer. Our suffering produces endurance, character, and hope (Romans 5:3-5). Trials produce steadfastness which lead to a completeness, lacking nothing (James 1:2-4). Our trials result in the tested genuineness of our faith and glory to our God (1 Peter 1:6-7).
Scripture teaches us that since we serve a good and sovereign God, there is purpose in our trial. There is importance in our struggle. Remember our God is the One who calms the storm with a word. So, what should we glean from the storm He chooses not to calm, rather allowing it to wreak its destruction? Does this not scream purpose? Does this not scream, “I have a plan for you”?
Therefore, if our trials are used for our growth, then suffering in the believer’s life, though uncomfortable, hard, and even painful, is for our good. The struggle is important. The struggle should not be avoided, so that we may continue fooling ourselves into thinking this world is our home. Rather we should lean into our trials, dare I say, we should rejoice in our sufferings (Romans 5:3-5).
Life is hard and suffering is real. However, we do not suffer in vain. We have hope in our suffering. We have been given an example in our Savior (1 Peter 2:21-23). Jesus, without sin, suffered. Rather than threatening His persecutors, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly. His adversaries meant it for evil, but more importantly His Father meant it for good. Therefore, He could say, “not my will but yours be done.”
We must remember that all things are subject to the Father’s control and purpose, especially our trials. When we have an unbiblical perspective of who our God is, we grumble and complain when faced with difficulty. We do not entrust ourselves to a just and good God. We run from His designs and ask, “Why have you done this to me?”
Lord, help us to have a Biblical perspective of our trials. Help us to rejoice in our suffering, for you are working in our trials. You are producing glory for yourself, and good for your children. May we who suffer according to your will entrust ourselves to you, our faithful Creator (1 Peter 4:19). May we echo our Savior, “not my will but yours be done.”