Though Jesus was the Song of God, "He learned obedience by the things which He suffered." (Hebrews 5:8) Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane for another way other than crucifixion. Yet He submitted Himself to God, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." (Matthew 26:39) After praying the same prayer three times, it was clear that there was no other way so Jesus courageously did the will of God. "He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross." (Philippians 2:8) Thank God that Jesus chose to suffer, a choice that paved the way back to God for all mankind.
Not all who suffer choose to do so, but once in the midst of it, people make critical decisions. Job is another unbelievable example. After learning of the sudden tragic loss of all his children, his employees and his livestock, his reaction was to fall down and worship God. When covered head to toe with boils, Job 2:10 says that Job did not sin with his lips. "In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong." (1:22) Many Bible scholars believe Job was the first book written, chronologically. It is noteworthy to consider that one of the first lessons God wants His people to learn is that although there is suffering in this life, He is the great Savior. "My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord; that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful." (James 5:10, 11) The book of Revelation, foretelling future perfection, agrees. "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."Â� (21:4)
God has a future planned without suffering. The Christian's hope includes heaven, being eternally in the presence of God. Hope also includes the destruction of Satan, sin, sickness, suffering and death. "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." (Romans 8:18) Until then, suffering educates and strengthens.
Helen Keller was an American author, activist and lecturer. She was the first deaf-blind person to graduate from college. She said, "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved."
When suffering is viewed as having a purpose, one can learn from it, and use it for the benefit of teaching or helping others. Jesus Christ suffered willingly and by design. "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God." (1 Peter 3:18) Without His suffering for humanity, there would be no restoration or reconciliation with God.
Jesus' suffering was with a divine purpose. Contemporary author and motivational speaker, Robert Ringer, recently wrote, "The most worthwhile lessons in life are the ones we learn through adversity. Some day you may be in a situation that will require you to draw on that experience, perhaps to help someone dear to you through a similar issue."
There are worse things than suffering in life, and perhaps worse than suffering is not learning anything from the experience. All humans go through different kinds and various degrees of suffering, and some live lives full of it. Since no one is exempt, rather than to complain about it, which no one wants to listen to, Christians are encouraged in Hebrews chapter 12 to remember what Jesus went through on the cross, enduring the most extreme suffering any one ever went through, "lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls." (12:3) God promises that He "will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you." (1 Peter 5:10 Amplified Bible)