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Suffering's Lessons

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  Romans 5:3-4 NLT

Photo courtesy of pixabay.Never had I been sick for so long.

Sickness stuck to me this winter. Sinusitis hit the day after school dismissed for Christmas vacation. I persevered through the holidays, feeling horrible. When nothing worked, I made a doctor’s appointment. He gave the antibiotic, and I was better within one week.

Two weeks later, the same sickness returned. Between sick people at church and sick kids at school, I stood no change. Lysol, hand sanitizer, and Clorox wipes seemed unable to kill the monster.

Thinking my doctor might give me a second round of antibiotics since I had recently been ill, I returned. No such luck. “You probably had the flu,” he remarked, “but you’re past the seventy-two-hour window where medicine will help. Tough it out.”

Fortunately, my wife discovered a round of steroids the doctor had previously prescribed for her back. “Take these,” said Dr. Michelle. I did, and within two days, I felt better. (Men should always listen to their wives.)

Spring can’t come quickly enough. Suffering has worn me down—in body and in spirit. Paul had something to say about physical suffering, the kind that comes from standing up for Christ. It produces patience, character, and hope.

Physical suffering, whether from illness or from my stand for Christ, helps me identify with others. Because I have been sick so much this winter, I sympathize with others I know who have dealt with seasonal illnesses.  

Suffering grows faith and trust. Doctors prescribe medicines, which hopefully will heal. But trusting in the ultimate healer gives me peace and comfort. If He wants, He can do instantly what medicine takes days or weeks to accomplish. As I wait on Him, my faith and trust increase.

Times of suffering also help us appreciate the times of health and peace. The times when our bodies are well and no one is persecuting us for our faith, whether physically or emotionally.

Paul and many first-century Christians suffered for the just cause: their faith in Christ. Still they rejoiced. When we suffer for a similar reason, we should rejoice too. Jesus said we should.

When you suffer in your body, either from physical illnesses or because you stand for Christ, don’t waste the opportunity to learn from it.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

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Martin Wiles

Martin Wiles lives in Greenwood, SC, and is the founder of Love Lines from God. He is a freelance editor, English teacher, pastor, and author who has been published in numerous publications. He also serves as Managing Editor for both Christian Devotions and Vinewords.net. He is the author of six books. His most recent book, Don’t Just Live...Really Live, was released in November 2021. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of six. He can be contacted at [email protected].