There are multiple benefits in our suffering. 1 Peter 4:1-2 says, “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.”
Ceased from sin because we suffered. Deep suffering takes away any appetite for fleshly lusts. It isn’t even on our radar because we are clinging to the Lord. Suffering is God’s character refining instrument. Suffering yields the fruit of humility. Humility ushers in grace. 1 Peter 4:10 says, “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
Have you ever considered that your suffering is a gift to others? I think of Amy Carmichael. Her ankle was crushed when she fell into an abandoned well. She spent the rest of her life suffering from that injury. She said that she would receive letters that did not comfort her. They were written by folks who didn’t know pain.
I love her poem about the harrow and the toad. Since it is copyrighted I will paraphrase. The toad is beneath the tongs of the harrow. The butterfly preaches contentment to the toad. Her book, “Rose From Brier” ministered to me as no other book has. Why? She was writing to folks in pain from one who was in pain. She knew the harrow.
Our Savior knew the harrow. The cross is God’s instrument to set us free from the bondage of sin. Once we accept His finished work for ourselves, we enter into the harrow of character refinement. Romans 5:3-4 says, “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations…” Why do we glory? They are God’s perfect design to conform us to His instrument. Here are the benefits, “…knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character hope.”
Peter knew the harrow. He was sifted by satan. His final words are recorded for us in 1 & 2 Peter. Remember, we are stewards of all that the Lord has given us. Every trial, adversity, being sinned against, and sinning against others is part of our makeup. Whatever the Lord has allowed us to go through is His will. His purpose is stamped on every nuance-experience.
1 Peter 4:19 says, “Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.” We are created in the image of God to glorify Him. We glorify Him when we embrace our suffering tools. They are strategically conforming us to His will in our thoughts, purpose, and actions.