Suffering- what does that mean to you? What images or emotions do you correlate with the word “suffering”?
Are these images and emotions negative?
Do they contain a lot of pain, harm, shame, worries, and anxieties?
Or are these images and emotions positive- a hope for the future, the excitement to overcome challenges and mountains, and to come out victorious?
Most likely than not, suffering is a word that is associated with negativity. Situations filled with suffering are not pleasurable; neither are they something we look forward to in life.
But, today, I want to challenge you.
I want to challenge you (and even myself) to how we view suffering- not as a curse, a burden, a worry, an undefeatable goliath, but as a challenge, as an exciting obstacle for you and I to overcome.
Even I myself have to stop seeing suffering as “oh God, why must I go through this? What a waste of time! I want this suffering and torment to stop, and good things to happen now!”
But rather, I should see it as “oh God! Thank you for this circumstance and situation where You are challenging me to grow and develop my perseverance, my character, my mind, my will, my emotions, and my soul.”
I’m sure by now you’re wondering, “What’s with all these positive talk around suffering?”
Let me backtrack a little- let’s take a look at the word “suffering”
Suffering means “the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship.”
Suffering came from the late Latin word called “pati”.
So was another word. And, the word that was derived from the word “pati”, or suffering in late Latin is:
Yes, the word passion, in its original Latin form, means “to suffer”.
And, we have to suffer for our passion.
To follow our passion is to choose discomfort over comfort. It is through our suffering, struggles, and circumstances that test our passion, and our will power to carry on, no matter how painful it is.
If you’re in a place of suffering for your passion, let me encourage you:
Keep fighting on. Persevere. Focus on your goals, and don’t let the feeling of self-pity and defeat overtake us.
The suffering is not there to harm you, but to build your character up.
It’s to build your endurance. It’s to strengthen you. It’s to give you hope.
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
In the movie “The Passion of Christ”, it was shown that Christ suffered for us- He was whipped, tormented, shamed, nailed, and died for us.
And for what? Because He was passionate for us.
He loved us with such intensity.
And that’s why He chose to suffer for us- to rescue us from sin and death.
Was it easy? Not at all.
Was it painful? Absolutely.
Was it necessary for Him to go through each and every single one of the suffering? Yes.
Likewise- we will need to go through seasons of suffering for our passions, you and I.
Let me encourage you once more:
Wherever you are, don’t throw in the towels just yet. Please do persevere through your suffering; they are temporal. Your goals are closer than you think they are.
Keep moving forward, and trust in God to deliver you through your circumstances.
He will see you through your situations if you do commit your situation to Him.
He will make pathways and streams of living waters for you.
He will fight for you, and defend you.
Through Him, we can become overcomers that He has destined us to be.
And through Him, we will be able to turn our suffering into joy; suffering into fun challenges and obstacles we need to overcome to turn our passion into a reality!
Remember: the suffering you’re going through is not to harm you, but to build you up to be an even stronger overcomer than you are now!