The hours, days, and years that I’ve spent waiting, praying, weeping, and wrestling with “why” – they are too many to count. These memories – these profound moments of heartbreak, helplessness, and horror – they’ve changed every part of who I am.
But here’s what’s remarkable. Although part of those changes have consisted of the negative impacts of trauma, they’ve also shaped me in countless ways that I would never undo. I’ve been stripped and broken in my flesh, but I’ve come to experience the profound truth of Paul’s words in Philippians 2:29 –
“For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake.”
The greek verb translated “granted” is from the noun for grace. Believers’ suffering is a gift of grace that brings power and eternal life.
Let me be clear – my son’s illness, my chronic pain, my children’s pain, our financial losses, and even the disgusting fleas we endured in a rental home – are not “gifts of grace” in and of themselves. They’re awful. They’re painful. They’re part of living in a fallen world.
But through Jesus’ death and resurrection, God provided a way for redemption to breathe hope and purpose into these broken places. In his sovereignty, he’s able to wield these evils for his good purposes to infuse his power in our weakness and proclaim it to the world around us.
Believer, I will carry scars until I crawl across heaven’s gates – and likely you will too. But if you have the Spirit of God, your trials can be a gift of God’s grace as they loosen your grip on this world and tether you to Christ and his life-changing power.
Believers will suffer. We should expect it. But we can also count on the strength and redeeming power of Christ to transform it into a gift of his grace as we come to know more of Christ through our (and therefore, his) sufferings.
Grieve your sorrows because Jesus does. But sister/brother, find comfort in knowing that Christ is there with you – even when others are not. If we have eyes to see it and hearts to receive it, there are heavenly treasures of grace to be found in the darkness.
Home is around the corner,
You can now order Sarah’s new book – Tears and Tossings: Hope in the Waves of Life, an evangelistic resource on pain and suffering for both believers and non-believers.
To read more on the hope we have in suffering, you can also purchase “Hope When It Hurts – 30 Biblical Reflections to Help You Grasp God’s Purpose in Your Suffering” authored by Sarah Walton and Kristen Wetherell here or here. Jeff and Sarah Walton’s marriage book, Together Through the Storms – Biblical Encouragements for Your Marriage When Life Hurts.