Finding Peace In Suffering
Cancer. It’s a terrifying diagnosis. Everyone in the world is touched by it. They have cancer, have been healed from cancer, or know someone who has cancer. This and other diseases leave us asking God why. Why does He allow cancer? Why does it even exist? Why are some healed and some aren’t?
In 2011 I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Those same questions went through my head, along with one other important question: why not me? What makes me so special that I should be spared surgery and radiation? The answer is nothing. I’m as ordinary as anyone else. For some reason, one only God knows, I have cancer. And the challenge isn’t figuring out why I have it, but how I will deal with it.
One of my favorite Bible verses is Romans 5:2-4. “…through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” The last few words of this verse particularly speak to me—suffering builds character, which in turn brings hope. Would I like an easier way to build character and to gain hope? Of course. We all do. But if everything were easy, if we never had to stumble or make a mistake or figure out how to handle a crisis, what would we learn? What kind of Christians would we be?
Jesus is the ultimate example of suffering. He suffered derision, cruelty, and an agonizing death while on earth. Yet because of His obedience and how He bore His suffering, He became God’s ultimate servant. The one we strive to imitate. Through His suffering Jesus saved us, but he also taught us an important lesson—adversity isn’t something to be avoided. It’s to be embraced. Once we embrace our suffering we can accept God’s mercy, His love, and His hope.
Kathleen Fuller is the best-selling author of over twenty novels. Her latest book, Faithful to Laura, released in August, 2012.