Redemptive Suffering

What good can come from suffering? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

On Valentine’s Day, an old friend messaged me. He was going through a divorce. It was an odd way to start a Valentine’s Day, but I talked with him some that day and not just through messenger, but also through the phone service on the messenger app.

It really got me thinking again about how thankful I am that my divorce is being used for good. That does not mean I am thankful that it happened. That does not mean it was a good thing. I am not about to go and shout “Yay! Divorce!” It does though fulfill a wish I had had.

When I started going through the divorce, the main contact I had was my friend William who had gone through a divorce and was with me a lot in my marriage. He was able to relate to me in a lot of what I was going through. It would be phone calls, Facebook messages, texts, and since he lives in the city I do, meeting at restaurants or having me come over sometime.

How did he get through it? He had someone help him. Now I don’t want to deny that I got involved in DivorceCare which has been an immense help. The first thing I told my friend was to get into DivorceCare.

This is really important to me as it already tells me my divorce is being used for good. I remember one friend after I came out and told my story saying he finally had the courage to tell his story. I hope he’s busy helping someone else with this. Divorce is a great sting. It is a horrible D letter that you seem to carry over you.

This is one reason the problem of evil is never really convincing to me. I have seen evil be used for my benefit so many times. Many of us would say that the hardest times in our lives, looking back, were some of the best gifts that we had. In those times, we learned the most about life and how to live and how to love our fellow man.

Also, after these times, we look upon other present sufferings differently. We immediately realize that God is at work in our lives and shaping us for His glory and….

Nah. That’s not accurate at all. We gripe and complain as if we haven’t been through evil a thousand times before.

I won’t deny that the pain of my divorce is over. Last night, I got caught in an emotional tailwind and I am still recovering from it. It happens. It is a lot better than it was at the start and I am thankful that already, my suffering is being used to help my fellow men who are suffering. None of that is to deny women suffer, but I am better able to help men.

The biblical promise is also that any suffering I go through, it will be used for my good and hopefully, by extension, the good of others. That’s a great joy. When I talk to someone now who is going through divorce and just starting the journey, I can relate to them as I have walked that road and am still a fellow traveler on it.

I don’t know your suffering, but the same applies to you. No suffering will ever be wasted if you are in Christ. All will be redeemed. Try to take heart in that.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

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