How God Can Use Suffering
My friend Lt. Col. (Ret.) Brian Birdwell was working at the Pentagon on 9/11 when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the building. He was severely burned and underwent numerous surgeries and painful skin grafts. Awhile back when he was a guest of our church, I invited him to have lunch with me.
"I can’t," he said. "I’m going to a burn ward." He had arranged to visit patients at a local burn ward so he could encourage them and tell them they could get through it. I thought about how Brian Birdwell could do that like no one else could.
Or take Nick Vujicic, who was born without arms or legs. When he speaks of the comfort that Christ has given him, it resonates.
When a person has just found out he or she has cancer, a cancer survivor can bring a measure of comfort that I could never bring.
When we are suffering, we can bring a special measure of comfort to someone else who is suffering. Paul said that God "comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us" (2 Corinthians 1:4).
Everything in life is preparation for something else. That certainly was the case with Joseph and all the calamities he endured after his brothers sold him into slavery. Years later when his brothers begged for forgiveness, he told them, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people" (Genesis 50:20).
God can use suffering in our lives to prepare us for a special task. Perhaps the hardships of today are preparing you for great opportunities tomorrow.