Suffering can strengthen us, if we let it. It can make us more like the Lord.
Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out (John 11:43-44, NIV).
Raising Lazarus from the dead was a great miracle — one of the greatest in the New Testament. And to this very day, God will work just that way at certain times and in certain places. He will step into your life and dramatically, miraculously, change your circumstances. You will go to the doctor and hear Him say, “I’m really sorry. There’s nothing we can do for you. You’d better just get your affairs in order because you only have a short time to live.” But you cry out to the Lord to do that which only He can do, and He does a miracle and heals you. He steps into your adverse circumstances and intervenes. What do we do in a situation like that? We glorify the Lord. And sometimes that is the way He gains glory, by completely removing the difficulty from us.
But that isn’t the only way He is glorified. Sometimes God is glorified through the adversity. The apostle Paul had one particular physical condition afflicting him that had him so distressed, so troubled, that he cried out to God for relief:
I was given a physical handicap... Three times I begged the Lord for it to leave me, but his reply has been, “My grace is enough for you: for where there is weakness, my power is shown the more completely.” Therefore, I have cheerfully made up my mind to be proud of my weaknesses, because they mean a deeper experience of the power of Christ (2 Corinthians 12:7-9, PH).
In effect, Paul concluded, “All right, if God says I am to endure this, then that’s what I’ll do. If it’s all for Christ’s good and part of His good plan, then I’ll be content with whatever He chooses to give me.” Suffering can strengthen us, if we let it. It can make us more like the Lord. When a Christian suffers and gives glory to God through it all, it reassures the rest of us that there never will be a valley so deep that God won’t get us through it.