In 2023, the Ginghamsburg Church community is following the Bible in One Year reading plan. Anyone can download the Bible in One Year app and join the discussion in the comments below, or by joining the ginghamsburg facebook group and locating the Bible in One Year community chat. The following post is a reflection written by Ginghamsburg Church community member Kate Johnson.
Most of us can identify pivotal moments of pain in our lives – struggling with addiction, the death of a loved one, a frightening diagnosis, or bad life decision. Several life journeys in Scripture this week deal with overcoming suffering. David asks, “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?” (Psalm 13:1). Job reels from the loss of his property, the death of his children, and sores that cover his entire body (Job 1, 2). Joseph has endured being sold into slavery and wrongful imprisonment (Genesis 37, 39).
But through these stories we see the many ways God can use our suffering for good. Going through seasons of hardship changes our perspective. It strips away our entitlement and opens our eyes to others’ pain. Empathy often comes from suffering. As we go through hardship and survive, our belief in God can become more firmly rooted. We become more secure in knowing our faith is real.
And perhaps most importantly, hardship can make us more generous. We can become more giving as we develop empathy and relate to the plights of others. We can become more forgiving as we see in Joseph with his brothers.
“Do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.”(Genesis 45:5)
Reflection on suffering can make us grateful and generous if we allow ourselves to go through the pain with the Holy Spirit by our side.
Leave a comment below:
When has God used your past pain to help others? How can you use your empathy and generosity to reach others this year?