Suffering Can Deepen Faith

For times in our lives when suffering becomes real, it is a comfort to know that Jesus went there before us.

When we try to grasp the nature of suffering, we will feel that suffering is necessary in our search for fellowship with God. This is because of the inhibited and unredeemed life we live. We need suffering. The more we suffer and become aware of our own wretchedness, the more we realize that Jesus is our only foothold. Pascal never tired of saying that to realize our wretchedness leads to despair unless we acknowledge Christ.

Christ is our Redeemer; he knows the depth of our misery. He is our only access to freedom from sin and anguish. He knows our darkness and despair. He holds in readiness for us the strength and joy in life that can free us from our miserable plight. Jesus knows how laborious and burdensome our existence must seem to us, but he lives in communion with God’s Spirit, who has the power to free us, and he has told us, “Your Father knows what you need” (Matt. 6:8).

Jesus knew suffering. He knew hunger and thirst. He had no place to lay his head (Matt. 8:20). He had no house, no home. But he knew his Father, and in him he had unbroken joy of spirit. Jesus proved to us that happiness in life depends on one thing only, on how well we know our Father in Heaven.

Adapted from God’s Revolution (Walden, NY: Plough, 2021). The original, complete document can be read in our digital archive: "The Nature of Suffering" (December, 1918).