All of us would prefer to avoid times of suffering. On the surface that is an obvious statement, but as we look back at a time of suffering in our lives and contemplate all God accomplished in our lives in the midst of our pain and confusion, suddenly the line between “something to avoid” and “something to accept” becomes blurred.

God can use our periods of deep distress to mature and grow us if we allow Him to focus our eyes past the immediate pain to see our circumstances in the light of eternity.

Henri Nouwen said it so well. “When we learn to move through suffering, rather than avoid it, then we greet it differently. We become willing to let it teach us. We even begin to see how God can use it for some larger end. Suffering becomes something other than a nuisance or curse to be evaded at all costs, but a way into deeper fulfillment. Ultimately mourning means facing what wounds us in the presence of One who can heal.”