Despite our dislike of suffering, it has benefits: It may serve as God’s discipline to improve our character. It may be God’s way of showing us that He disapproves of our disobedience. God may permit suffering to teach us that pain and adversity are a part of life. By so doing, we may have more empathy for others who suffer. Sometimes God permits us to go through trouble so our testimony can be a comfort to other people who may be having difficulty. In 1 Samuel chapter 20, when Jonathan and David separated from each other, they did so because Jonathan’s father, King Saul, was intent on killing David. After they separated, David would spend the next eight to ten years suffering–hiding, running from King Saul, and in great danger. Yet all of this trouble prepared him for his coming role as king. God would later say of him that he was a man after God’s own heart. This illustrates for us that discipline and trouble may be God’s way to help us reach our full potential in life—whether our purpose is that of leadership or non-leadership roles. Followers of Christ soon learn that drawing near to God in times of difficulty is the best way for His people to cope.

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr. is the founder and chairman of UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.). Under his direction, UMI has grown to be a leading publisher of Christian education resources for churches in the African American community. Read More

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