Suffer for Your Sake
anonymous - Dec. 19, 2020

“Maybe I’m going through this for you, for exactly this moment.” I said that to someone who was going through a challenging time with his girlfriend, and it was weighing heavily on his heart. During the conversation, I offered the advice and comfort that most people would have given, but I also talked to him about my own struggles navigating the waters of romance. I hope that I was helpful, but I am confident that I wouldn’t have been able to connect with him to give him the words I did if I had not gone through my own trials in the matter. Lately, I have been referring to my personal experiences, trials, and victories to connect with people and to lend some authenticity to what I’m saying.

A lot of people, including myself, ask, “God, why is this happening?” I think this comes up most when we’re going through a difficult time that we desperately want over. Frequently, after we get through those times, we look back and see how we grew or how the Lord delivered us, and we say, “Oh! I get it now!” Other times, though, we go through troubles not solely for ourselves, but for others.

Perhaps one of the greatest examples of this is Joseph. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, was scandalously slandered, and lived in prison for years. I’m sure there were at least a couple times that Joseph was lying in bed, asking why he faced so many hardships, but after being freed and spending seven years managing Egypt, he learned why. He shared with his brothers, “God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God” (Genesis 45:7-8).

Like Joseph, Jesus did not suffer for His own good, but for ours. He knew the reason for His suffering. Sometimes we know why we face our struggles, but oftentimes we are left scratching our heads until eventually we have that “Aha!” moment. Have I had turbulence with dating so that I could be in the position to empathize with a fellow believer who needed encouragement? I like to think so. My struggles do grow me, but maybe there’s an even greater purpose that is yet to reveal itself. Maybe what I face is for someone else.