top of page

Kerry Lytle

December 16, 2023

James 1: 2—4, New Living Translation

"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For when you know when your faith is tested, your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”

Because we live in a world broken by sin, life is painful. Almost everyone is living with some kind of pain. The type varies – it may be physical, relational, mental, emotional, financial, social, or spiritual – but it all hurts. Pain is inevitable. 


Everyone struggles with some form of pain and suffering in their lives. Perhaps a long-standing illness, or unresolved relationship issues. You may be struggling with job loss or financial hardship. Or maybe it’s a faith issue, God seems absent, silent, or distant. Pain in some form will always be present in our lives. 


Scripture is clear that following Christ doesn’t exempt us from suffering. Instead, we are told to expect it, and to consider suffering for Christ a privilege. Peter said, “Those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good” (1 Peter 4:19, NLT)


There is a common misconception among Christians. Sadly, many Christians are taught that “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” God does love you and He has a wonderful plan for your life. However, we are not exempt from suffering. For many years I angrily questioned God about the suffering in my life. I asked Him why this happens to someone who tries to do good. I thought when I became a Christian, obeyed and did all the good works, God would exclude me from suffering. It doesn’t work that way.


Truth is, we make bad choices and cause ourselves suffering. Nothing works the way that it should, our bodies suffer health issues, even nature itself is flawed causing natural disasters. The truth is everyone suffers, Christians, non-Christians, good or bad, all suffer. The difference is in what the suffering produces. In someone who doesn't love the Lord, suffering produces anger, hopelessness and unending brokenness. But in those who know God, suffering produces something far more valuable.


In James 1:2-4, we are reminded to “Count it all joy when we face trials because we know that God is doing what He promised to do in perfecting our faith.” We know that suffering has a limited period of time to go on. That’s why James tells us to count it all joy when you encounter suffering. On the other side of the suffering, when it completes its perfect work in us, there is joy and there is a testimony.


God wants us to use our pain to help others. Whatever mistake, failure, trouble, trial, or bad decision you’ve experienced, God says, “I will still use it for good in your life. And you just may use it to help others."


Think of the biggest troubles you have had in your life and the worst pain you have had to endure physically or emotionally.


God doesn’t want you to waste that hurt; he wants to redeem your suffering. You can always help people more through your weaknesses than through your strengths. Telling someone all the things you’re good at won’t help someone in pain. But sharing with them how God has walked with you through your pain could change their life.


Both believers and unbelievers experience trials. But Christians have a hope to hold on to that not only comforts us, but also empowers us to bless others.


What is our hope in pain? It is the promise of God that he can bring good out of anything, even pain, if we trust him. I stood on Romans 8:28 when I had my first miscarriage. I was crushed. I felt helpless and I felt like there was something wrong with me that I lost my baby. It was through that time in my life that I pressed into God and stood on His Word, and in that process my relationship with Him became stronger. When I finally got pregnant it made me all the more grateful and blessed that I was carrying a healthy baby. Had I not lost that first baby, I would not have my daughter. 


God wants to use us right now—not when we’ve fully recovered or moved past our pain. He wants to use us even in the areas that we have been embarrassed about and that still hurt.


Pain and suffering reveal selfishness, anger, unkindness and unforgiveness in our heart. Trials slowly replace the hardness of these traits with the softness of compassion, empathy and forgiveness. Just the way a mineral endures extreme pressure and temperatures to produce a diamond; we are refined. Through the process of pain and suffering, God removes the harshness of sin, revealing His glory in us! So, the next time you find yourself in a pain situation, embrace it, trust God and know He is doing a greater work in you!

bottom of page