Suffer Well

I was impressed with what missionary Scott Schesser had to say about suffering. I think that in our post-Christian American society we don’t want to hear things about suffering. It’s not bold to say that many of us sit in a place of privilege that says “I deserve prosperity and if I suffer it’s obviously because I don’t have enough faith.”

If you are reading this now and haven’t yet listened to Scott’s message make sure that you take some time to listen to it. I know I was convicted and challenged to grow my faith. He posed the question: how do you remain faithful to God in your personal life? One of the points he highlighted was on suffering and how believers will suffer and how we can suffer well.

I’m not new to suffering: I have sickle cell anemia, a genetic blood disorder that has had me see quite a few hospital stays over the years. I’ve been close to death because of it, but I serve a great God so I’m still here! I have had intense spiritual moments in hospital rooms, as machines beeped and IV’s dripped; in my uttermost weakness I have heard and seen God the loudest. There’s something about suffering that brings you to a deep level of dependence that we otherwise would not experience. In his message, Scott mentioned that suffering is a gift from God and I agree with that. Often people are quick to want to get out of suffering; I personally have heard things like “Bea, man if you had more faith, I KNOW God would heal you.” If I’m honest, that can be a hurtful thing to hear. I know that my faith has been built in these times of pain, and I’ve always seen God’s faithfulness in the end.

Now I know that I am only 25 and I have so much more to learn, but here are three things that I have learned in the middle of suffering:

  1. It’s not beneficial to suffer alone. I’m so thankful that I do life with people who carry this burden with me. They have faith for me and move things in heaven by praying on my behalf. 
  2. Suffering is a refining gift. I can honestly say that if it had not been for this illness I would not know God in the way that I know Him now. I know Him as a redeemer, counselor, healer, and friend. I know that He is faithful, full of compassion and mercy, and He always hears me, even when my words are muffled by tears. 
  3. God is faithful to offer us a new perspective after the fact. I have learned things that I could only learn through going through difficult times. Recently, after a long hospital visit, I learned so tangibly that we have a God who fights our battles and when He is on the frontlines we are victors. 
Romans 5:3-5 says this:  “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.  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.” The fruit of suffering is perseverance, character, and hope. Don’t be so quick to shove it away, we are made better when we suffer well.

by Beatrice Anyanwu
Beatrice was born in Nigeria but has called Pennsauken, NJ home for the majority of her life. She is the oldest of 4 and is currently a college student studying Biology (of all things!). She started attending Kingsway in 2009 with her family and started serving when she was a student in REVO. Beatrice loves books, so when you see her, ask her what she’s currently reading! Although she loves science and the arts, Beatrice has a passion for younger generations coming to know and engage in authentic relationship with Jesus.