The Work of Suffering
A while ago I read an unusual story about a man who survived a shark attack. The man actually said he was thankful that it happened.
It turns out that when he went to the hospital for treatment, his doctor discovered that he had cancer. They were able to successfully remove a tumor before it metastasized. If the shark hadn’t bitten him, he wouldn’t have known that he had cancer.
Who would ever think that a shark attack could end up being a good thing?
In the same way, spiritual attacks and trials will come into our lives, but they are opportunities to turn to the Lord and trust Him. We never know how God will take a hardship and use it for our good.
The Bible says, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow” (James 1:2–3 NLT).
From the original Greek, we could also translate the phrase “troubles of any kind” to read “many-colored trials.” You might be going through a hardship that’s different from what someone else is going through.
But even when things look bleak, God ultimately will work all things together for His glory and your good. God is in control of all circumstances that surround the believer. Remember, before Satan could bring hardships into Job’s life, he first had to get permission from God.
The same is true of you. God knows what you can handle. He’s always keeping an eye on you, and His ultimate purpose is to conform you into the image of Jesus Christ (see Romans 8:29). The big picture, then, God’s endgame for you, is to make you more like Jesus.
No matter what you’re going through, know this: God is at work in your life.
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