More Than Conquerors
May 16, 2023
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5, NIV).
Now two years out with a near miraculous absence from cancer, he came to me,
“I need to tell you that I actually asked for this,” he offered, meaning the cancer and the suffering it had brought.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“I won’t tell you the details, but I needed this. I asked God to do something to bring me to my knees, and He did.”
I finished the conversation with my arm around his shoulder, “When we get to heaven, I’m looking forward to hearing the details.”
Sometimes we recognize the goodness of God in our pain, and often we don’t.
How does God’s goodness make us “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37) when we suffer, whether we ask for the suffering or not?
For those of us who trust in God, when we go through the deep struggles of life, God shows His goodness in at least three ways.
- He changes who we are. If we hold on to God through our struggles, He changes our character. With every experience in life, we are being transformed day by day into the likeness of Christ. Nowhere does that change become more significant than when we suffer. Perhaps this is what my patient requested from God.
- He brings us closer to Him, our very goal of existence. So many patients have shared with me: “The presence of God I gained through my suffering was far more valuable than being relieved from that suffering.”
- He empowers our witness. As we suffer in faith, the world watches. Those who have suffered without God watch and see how differently we walk through our struggles with God. Suffering stamps “Valid!” on our witness.
Most of us will never ask for suffering like this patient above; but we all will suffer. As we bear that suffering, and walk with faith, even as we hurt, we will discover the goodness and blessings of God and become “more than conquerors.”
Even when the pain drowns out all but a whisper of your presence, let us know that you are here and we are being blessed.