In my life, I have experienced the scalpel of suffering. God, as the Great Physician, has used suffering and pain as His tool to shape my heart. This classic devotional from J.R Miller’s classic, The Ministry of Comfort, presents a reflection on what we can learn from suffering…
“Before I was afflicted I went astray–but now I keep Your word.” Psalm 119:67
Most of us need the chastening of affliction.
Pain is a wonderful revealer. It teaches us many things we never could have known if we had not been called to endure it. It opens windows through which we see, as we never saw before, the beautiful things of God’s love.
Many of the finest things in character, are the fruits of pain. Many a Christian enters trial – cold, worldly, unspiritual – and emerges from the experience a little later, with spirit softened, mellowed, and spiritually enriched.
Sanctified afflictions often the harshness and sharpness of one’s character. They consume the dross of selfishness and worldliness. They humble pride. They temper carnal ambitions. They quell fierce passions. They show to us the evil of our own heart, revealing our weaknesses, faults, and blemishes – and making us aware of our spiritual danger. They discipline the wayward spirit.
Sorrow draws its sharp ploughshare through the heart, cutting deep and long furrows–and the heavenly Sower follows with the seeds of godly virtues. Then by and by, fruits of righteousness spring up.
Sorrow has a tenderizing influence. It makes us gentle and kindly toward each other. In no other school, do our hearts learn the lessons of patience, tolerance, and forbearance so quickly–as in the school of suffering.
“It was good for me to be afflicted–so that I could learn Your statutes.” Psalm 119:71