Something Fine in Our Lives
“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”— 1 Peter 1:6-7, NIV
Can the soul grow larger through suffering? How does suffering change us?
The early apostles learned to embrace the grief and struggles of the people to whom they ministered. Through their own suffering, they learned the compassion of Jesus.
Gerald Sittser, a pastor who suffered when his family was killed in a car accident, wrote, “Catastrophic loss … will transform us or destroy us, but it will never leave us the same. It is not true that we become less through loss—unless we allow the loss to make us less, grinding our soul down until there is nothing left. Loss can also make us more...I did not get over my loved ones; rather I absorbed the loss into my life until it became a part of who I am. Sorrow took up permanent residence in my soul and enlarged it. The soul is elastic, like a balloon. It can grow larger through suffering.”1
Our faith is more precious to the Lord than gold.
He loves us with compassion and tender mercy. He knows that we live in a world that will hurt us at some point, in some way.
But He also promises that our pain will produce something fine in our lives; that it will enlarge our souls, and allow us to share the love and compassion we earn with others who suffer.
1. Gerald L. Sittser, “A Grief Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss” (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995), p. 18.