When Suffering Comes

May 11, 2015
by Martin Wiles

The brothers hugged before one entered surgery. Little did they know what lay ahead.

Two brothers, Chad and Ryan Arnold: one with a healthy liver, the other with an incurable liver disease. But love won out. In Denver, Colorado, Ryan, age 34, the brother with the healthy liver, was donating a part of his liver to his brother who needed it to live. The surgery was complicated and dangerous. Everything seemed to go well, but complications set in. Within four days, the brother with the healthy liver had died while the sick brother survived.

Serving God doesn't entail absence of suffering.

James 5:13 – Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. (NLT)

Discovering why suffering comes isn't nearly as important as my response to it. Accepting it as something that God can use is important. When I see it as usable, God can teach me critical life lessons. Suffering reminds me that my body is afflicted, will age, and will die. Nothing that I possess is indestructible either. Everything decays because of sin's presence.

James later instructs sufferers to call the church elders so that they can pray for them and anoint them with oil. Oil was medicinal and also symbolized the Holy Spirit. This reminds me that I should appeal to both the physical and the spiritual when I'm suffering. Ultimately, God is my great Physician, but He gives wisdom to medical professionals. There is wisdom in taking advantage of their services.

Prayer is comforting in times of suffering — mine and others. Through prayer, I receive the assurance that God cares about what I'm experiencing. When others pray for me, the comfort is maximized. God hears and acts when believers pray.

But at the end of the day, I must accept God's will where suffering is concerned. Not all ailments are healed, financial situations restored, possessions replaced, or relationships mended. Like Jesus, I must declare, "Not my will but Yours be done."

How do you respond when suffering approaches?

Prayer: When suffering comes, Saviour, remind us that You are in control and will bring good out of it if we respond in faith. Amen.

About the author:

Martin Wiles <mandmwiles@gmail.com>
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you for tackling this difficult subject and spreading truth.


    THANKS Martin for the powerful reminder where God is in the midst of suffering. Blessings.


    Well stated Martin.
    Great parallelisms linking an important message.
    God bless you and your ministry.


    Martin – the story you shared was sad but aside from the suffering, it is a story of great love, sacrifice and the gift of life, similar to the story of our redemption. Thank you for sharing this thought-provoking message.
    Blessings.


    Dear Martin Wiles,
    Thank you for a heart-felt devotional.
    I pray for the surviving brother. I hope he will know the comparison between what his brother did for him and with what Jesus did for him.
    And I pray that God will sustain you in your suffering too.
    For Jesus’ sake
    Amen.


    Hi Martin,
    Our family has faced a number of illnesses recently but we do not believe that it was God’s will for us to be sick. That is the premise upon which I stand on for all illness. Why we are all not healed of all sickness, as in our case, I do not fully understand…nor expect to in this life. I do see God walking with us through our illnesses but I do not believe He is the perpetrator of them.
    Many Blessings.


    As always, Martin, your remarks overflow with faith and wisdom. What a great reminder first thing in the morning as I begin my Bible reading and study, when my old joints make it all so uncomfortable and would so much rather crawl back into bed. It’s a wonderful thing to think that God knows and sympathizes as I come to grips with my finite human life. We live so many years under the impression that we are infallible, that it takes awhile to realize the truth that life here on earth does actually come to an end. May the Lord be gracious to us as the truth sets in so that our last years may be lived with patience and gratitude for all we have had and all we have been, and with acceptance and patience when we are in have so much less energy, and so much more pain. May it be as you said, that God can use our pain somehow. If that’s true, carrying on becomes something I can willingly do for Him who died for me. Blessings on your day, Martin, and thank you for your encouraging words.


    Dear Martin:
    Your meditations are among my favourites on this site. I find them thoughtful and profound.
    When I separated from my husband, the biggest rock I chose to carry was my resentment at being forced out of the marriage. I was angry at him and angry at God to put it mildly. It is only in the past couple of years that I’m beginning to truly appreciate the gifts and opportunities that the Lord has given to me by allowing my life to fall apart.
    I have just returned home from a trip where I have truly accepted God’s Grace and what He has provided. While I knew it intellectually, I couldn’t move the knowledge down to my heart to full acceptance. This topic needs to be talked about more often and we need to understand that only prayer, time and the Grace of God can save us from our own desires.
    Thank you for your wonderful meditation.
    May the blessing of our Gracious God be with you.


    Well stated Martin.
    Great parallelisms linking an important message.
    God bless you and your ministry.

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