‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ you’ve probably heard that before right? It’s normally a saying that is thrown around during times of hardship, but not so hard that we feel crushed. Christians can easily fall into the trap where we think that we should live pain and suffering free lives. However, not only does the Bible never promise us that, such a life would also rob us of an opportunity to learn. Let me explain…
Just over eight years ago I started to feel chronic pain. It’s a pain that keeps me from sleeping. A pain that means I can’t be around much noise and a pain that afflicts my every moment of every day. Yes, I can see where you’re going, I’ve tried every doctor and medication under the sun. Nothing helps.
It took me a while to come to this conclusion but this curse, of constant physical pain, is also a blessing.
Through this pain I have spent more time in God’s Word seeking comfort, wrestling with what a healthy theology of suffering looks like and at times living in the depths of despair with the Psalmists. Through this pain I have been pointed to Christ more than in any other area of my life that I can think of. How is that possible?
Spurgeon said “I have learned to kiss the waves that throw me against the Rock of Ages” Every test, every suffering and every pain is an opportunity to choose to run away from Christ or towards Him in dependence.
It took me years to change my thinking of this matter, but now I see that my suffering is a blessed curse. I do not fully understand it, I probably never will (and I’m ok with that!), but I can come to the one who knows all things, who controls all things and who has suffered all things on my behalf. He is the only Rock that will give you the firm footing through any storm.
Life won’t be easy, it won’t always be fun, but it will be another opportunity to seek refuge, strength and endurance in the One who promises to be there.
Suffering and pain are part of the curse of living in a fallen, sin-stained broken world. But they can also be an opportunity to learn that pain can be a blessed curse if we run to Christ.
Ultimately all suffering is a result of Genesis 3, that rebellion that destroyed the human heart and turned us away from God. In the end, the hope that awaits those in Christ is a glorious future without pain, suffering, sin and death. But in the meantime we live in Romans 8, we live in the time of groaning.
Our bodies groan, we suffer and we mourn. Creation groans, longing for the day it thrives as it was created to. Our whole being is longing for the day when Christ returns. As we live in this curse stained world, remember that whilst the curse is hard, it does point you towards a greater hope, the greatest Saviour and a glorious life in Him. This is what I call the blessed curse. It hurts, but it’s an opportunity to learn from and to grow in Him.