No one should ever think that I (or we) take lightly the suffering of anyone. Rather, we take seriously the words of Hebrews 13:3; “Remember those who are in prison as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you are in the body.” This is the same attitude as what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:26; “If one member suffers, all suffer together.”
Is suffering just one of those things in life that we have to ‘endure’? What does James say? “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2–4).
The reason for this joy is not that we are going through a difficult time, but because we know that our sovereign God has allowed the trial or suffering to strengthen our faith and accomplish a divine purpose in us that could not be achieved any other way. We often are more concerned about the inconvenience of trials than wanting to know what God is “perfecting and completing” in us.
With that in mind, James says, “let steadfastness have its full effect.” In other words, don’t stop short of what God wants to accomplish in you! There is nothing more beautiful than God’s finished work in His children! Putting these verses together, we are with those who suffer, in prayer and comfort; desiring that God’s perfect purpose and will be fulfilled in them. It will end in GLORY!
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