Living Life in the DR

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Suffering is Never for Nothing

 “There have been some hard things in my life, of course, as there have been in yours, and I cannot say to you, I know exactly what you’re going through. But I can say that I know the One who knows. And I’ve come to see that it’s through the deepest suffering that God has taught me the deepest lessons. And if we’ll trust Him for it, we can come through to the unshakable assurance that He’s in charge. He has a loving purpose. And He can transform something terrible into something wonderful. Suffering is never for nothing.” ~ Elizabeth Elliot

The older (and wiser!) I become, the more I yearn for the day when Christ returns.  It seems there isn't a week, or even a day at times, that passes without some sort of heart-breaking or gut-wrenching news. Even the day-to-day events of life can often be difficult, and I can find myself feeling heavy-laden and worn down. I look forward to that day when "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 

But while we wait for that triumphant return we aren't called to just survive or even just endure. James 1:2 tells us to "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds".Why?  "...Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." 

How do we find joy amidst suffering? We are currently studying 1 Peter. In chapter 1, it tells us that we have been born again into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This living hope is an inheritance "that can never perish, spoil or fade." (1 Peter 1:4) Peters tells us that it is in this - our living hope - that we "rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."

Here at Freedom, the past couple of years have been a season of heartache. We've suffered difficult times as a ministry and have also seen our missionaries, teachers, and students walk through personal difficulties. Personally, we've been walking the road of adoption with Estaylin and Eliangel. It's been a season of waiting. Our hearts yearn to be able to travel back to the states with them to introduce them to family and friends, but two years in, we are still waiting. It's easy to feel stuck. During these past two years, I've watched my dad face a fierce battle of depression. Gabe's dad fell and broke his back and he had two uncles pass away. It's hard to be so far away from those you love when they are hurting or walking a difficult journey of their own. It creates a deep feeling of helplessness. While we may not understand the why, we do know the who. We serve a God who works for the good of those who love them. (Romans 8:28) To quote Elisabeth Elliot, "Whatever is in the cup that God is offering to me, whether it be pain and sorrow and suffering and grief along with the many more joys, I’m willing to take it because I trust Him.”


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