The Benefits of Weakness and Suffering

Written by Mark Farnham

On June 9, 2010

No one likes illness, suffering, or pain, yet the results of these things can have eternal value. It has been said that if dependence upon God is the objective, then weakness is an advantage. Weakness and suffering have tremendous advantage for our salvation and sanctification. The sixteenth-century theologian, Theodore Beza attributed his conversion to a severe illness and the consequent fear of death:

He approached me through a sickness so severe that I despaired of my life. Seeing his terrible judgment before me, I could not think what to do with my wretched life. Finally, after endless suffering of body and soul, God showed pity upon His miserable lost servant and consoled me so that I could not doubt His mercy. With a thousand tears, I renounced my former self, implored His forgiveness, renewed my oath to serve His true church, and in sum gave myself wholly over to Him. So the vision of death threatening my soul awakened in me the desire for a true and everlasting life. So sickness was for me the beginning of true health (letter to Melchior Wolmar, May 12, 1560).

In a similar vein, the apostle Paul spoke of the benefit of weakness and suffering in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10:

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

If we love eternal things more than our temporary comfort and convenience, we will be willing, like Paul, to suffer for our own good and the glory of God. This is what God has been teaching me today!

You May Also Like…

God Interferes in Our Free Will, and It’s a Good Thing, Too.

Jared Wilson exposes the myth so many Christians believe that God has limited himself and his power in order to respect the complete exercise of our freedom (or free will) to choose him or not: "One of the chief ways we distort the biblical picture of God's love is...

Justified Before God

Guest post by Jeff Mindler. [Jeff graduated from Lancaster Bible College in 2014 with a B.A. in Biblical Studies, as well as an M.A. in Counseling. He currently works as the Event Coordinator for the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals in Lancaster, PA. His wife,...

Doing Justice and the Gospel, Part 2: Justice According to Leviticus 19

[This is the second of a four-part series on doing justice and how it relates to the gospel. See the first part here .] The laws that God lays down in Leviticus contribute to the overall picture of justice in the Bible. Let’s take a look at one passage that is rich in...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *