Suffering’s two holy purposes

By Steve Wickham

There are two godly purposes in suffering. To learn ours so we may help others in theirs.

The first is that we get to experience what reality in this life is truly like, because if we don’t suffer we don’t get to learn to live as we should, obediently before the Lord. That we live in a suffering world is irrefutable. It affects us. When we begin to notice our suffering, God blesses us with a cognisance of it that never quite leaves. The purpose of such a cognisance is to purify us in humility in the fashion of the Lord Jesus. The purpose is to make us obedient, as Jesus was obedient, to the Father, per Hebrews 5:8.

Secondly, our suffering opens our eyes to the suffering in the world. We cannot help nor care if we’re not aware, and our own suffering awakens us to the world’s plight. When God uses our suffering to alert us to the suffering others are afflicted by, He gives us both the motive and inspiration to get involved through service and mission. Our suffering impels us to help others in theirs. We’re able to listen more acutely, and to discern what others’ actual needs are. We’re able to dignify others in their hardships.


Suffering is a blessing, because it makes us aware of the groaning reality of life. When we’ve connected with our suffering we can begin more readily to connect with others in theirs.

So don’t be discouraged that you, the reader, suffer. Thank God for it, that you experience reality, and that you have faith and courage enough not to deny the truth of life.

By Steve Wickham