For the past few weeks I’ve been trying to have a more regular relationship with the treadmills in the gym at our apartment complex. This is a big step for me because I hate running. I hate running inside, I hate running outside, I hate running on a boat, I hate running with a goat.
I view running as some kind of suffering, but it has the opportunity to make me bitter or to make me better. Running makes me bitter when I give up, when I don’t go to the gym and when I don’t do what I know I should. When I do run, though, as much as I hate it, it definitely makes me better. It burns calories, improves cardiovascular health and makes me feel less like a lazy bum.
So the suffering of the treadmill can either make me bitter or better. And really, when we think about it, that’s true of all suffering.
We all face suffering in our lives. At some point or another and to varying degrees of severity, we will all go through seasons of suffering. If we attempt to face those seasons on our own, the suffering will just end up making us bitter. However, if we turn to God and face those seasons of suffering with him, God will use our suffering to make us better.
David was no stranger to suffering. Saul tried killing David and David was forced to live life on the run. Even when he came to power and claimed Israel’s throne, David still faced suffering. One of David’s son’s raped his half-sister and was murdered by his half-brother. And another of David’s sons tried usurping the throne.
Through all of his suffering, though, David still pursued God. Even in the midst of his suffering David was still a man after God’s own heart. David chose to engage with God and trust him regardless of what he faced. That attitude allowed David to persevere and to see God use his suffering to make him better.
When we trust in God during our seasons of suffering God will definitely use them to make us better. In Romans 5 Paul writes that our suffering produces perseverance, which then produces character. God will grow and shape our character through our suffering if we turn to him. Instead of growing bitter because of our suffering, we can trust that God will use our suffering to make us better.
What helps you turn to God in the midst of suffering?
This post was based off my sermon from this past weekend. You can listen to it here.