Suffering Someone Else's Suffering
Updated: Oct 16, 2021
I don’t think that anyone enjoys suffering. Of course, the believer knows in his spirit (often forgetting in his flesh) that God uses all things; including suffering, in the believer’s life to bring about good things of many sorts, even if we don’t like it or understand it at the time (Romans 8:28).
In many ways it is more difficult to watch a loved one suffer than for us to suffer a direct affliction ourselves. We hurt for them. We want to find a way to take their pain away; we know however that we can’t take it away; we feel helpless, and we desperately want God to take it away. We are certain that He can, but sometimes He just doesn’t…at least in what we may deem as good timing, and we find it frustrating, amongst other things.
We must remember that God is working in the life of that suffering loved one, who is a believer, just as he has worked, or may be working in our own lives through suffering. Just as God will not give us any more than we are able to handle, by His power (1 Corinthians 10:13), He will not give them any more than they can handle, by His power. Just as God uses suffering to teach us to rely on Him and draw closer to Him, He is doing the same for that believing loved one. He loves them and died for them, just as He loves you and died for you. He knows what is best for them, what they need and when they need it, just as He knows what is best for you, what you need and when you need it. Just as He wants to perfect you, He wants to perfect them. We must trust Him with their wellbeing, as we trust Him with our wellbeing. We of course must also recognize that we too are suffering as well, as we watch and deal with that loved one’s suffering; we need to recognize that that God is using that suffering for our good as well, just as much, perhaps even more so, than if we were suffering a direct affliction.
Perhaps we may be watching an elderly believing loved one go through a difficult time; perhaps with failing health; perhaps approaching their time to meet the Lord. We must remember that God very possibly may be using that suffering to put the finishing touches on that loved one; His life-long masterpiece, to finish perfecting as them into the person that He created them to be when He brings them home to meet Him face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12, 1 John 3:2) in His perfect timing.
If that loved one, is not a believer (especially if they are perhaps approaching death), you need to do what whatever you can to change that, very soon. Please share the Gospel with them; don’t put it off. If you need some help, use some of the resources on this website. Contact me if you want to; I’ll be glad to help. God may indeed be using that suffering to get their attention in order to save them from an eternity without Him (one of unspeakable suffering). He very well may be intending to privilege you to be used as an instrument to bring that person, as well as others who may be involved/suffering in the given situation, to everlasting life in Him. Awkwardness is not an excuse to avoid this duty and privilege. Don’t let Satan and his confusion and lies get in the way of this person receiving salvation.
If you yourself have never received the free gift of salvation/everlasting life, you can do so right now. The hard work has been done; Jesus did it for you. The gift is offered and has been paid for in full, you just need to accept it. Just trust Jesus; believe, as in fully trust that His death on the cross, as it was predicted in Scripture, paid the full price for your sins, and believe/trust that He rose from the grave on the third day and conquered death once and for all (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). This is the Gospel; the good news. Believe on the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved (Acts 16:31). Jesus is 100% God and 100% man. Being man, he was able to die in your place and pay the price/receive the wage of sin, which is death, that you and I deserved as sinners (Romans 3:23, 6:23). But as God (see John chapter 1), He bodily rose from the grave ALIVE, and conquered death once and for all.
As children of God; believers on Jesus, the trials of life need no longer simply callous and embitter us, God can use them to call us and better us.
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