Suffering. Google defines the word as a state of pain, distress, or hardship.
As a Man, my pride is too great to admit when I am suffering. I think suffering is equal to weakness and my attitude toward suffering becomes defensive.
I pretend my problems don't exist. I tell myself to be tough, but I fail to see reality and label it as having a bad day. My way of coping with suffering is to pretend it is not there and
hope it goes away.
Suffering is a state. It is in the present. It describes our circumstances. Our attitude and the way we respond to suffering is what matters. Paul talks about suffering as Christ did as the "hope" we have in Christ of our salvation and the gift of the holy spirit. Romans 5:3-5 3 Not only so, but we[fn] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
David Brooks, NY Times commentator, wrote a commentary on suffering titled, "What Suffering Does." What I took from it is that when we go through suffering, we are refined. We come out of suffering a different person. Paul summed it up best when he said suffering produces perseverance, character and hope.
Earlier I mentioned my attitude toward suffering. My old way of thinking was that after my suffering is over I will go back to being the same person I was before. The reality is suffering produces perseverance but it also produces wounds and scars.
2 Corinthians 12:7 (NIV) 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.
9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
10 That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
God's grace is sufficient. I believe when we truly understand that God's grace is sufficient, that we don't need to be in control, we just need to "BE." That is when God can truly work in our life and build our character. Suffering is a state just as being is a state. This is where God meets us and comforts us no matter what point we are at. When we can Be still and know He is God(Psalms 46:10).
I pray just as Paul prayed that we can comfort others in their time of need just as God comforts us(2 Corinthians 1:4).