Reformed Perspectives Magazine, Volume 4, Number 35, December 18-25, 2002

The Advantages of Suffering

o Suffering, the great equalizer, brings us to a point where we may realize our urgent need for redemption.

o Those who suffer know not only their dependence on God and on healthy people but also their interdependence with one another.

o Those who suffer rest their security not on things, which often cannot be enjoyed and may soon be taken away, but rather on people.

o Those who suffer have no exaggerated sense of their own importance, and no exaggerated need of privacy. Suffering humbles the proud.

o Those who suffer expect little from competition and much from cooperation.

o Suffering helps us distinguish between necessities and luxuries.

o Suffering teaches patience, often a kind of dogged patience born of acknowledged dependence.

o Suffering teaches the difference between valid fears and exaggerated fears.

o To suffering people the gospel sounds like good news and not like a threat or scolding. It offers hope and comfort.

o Those who suffer can respond to the call of the gospel with a certain abandonment and uncomplicated totality because they have so little to lose and are ready for anything.

From a message by Sister Monica Hellwig, reprinted in Phillip Yancey's Where Is God When It Hurts?