The troubles and suffering we experience in life are not random events without purpose. God works through them for our good (Rom. 8:28). We may not like or understand exactly what He’s doing, but knowing some of His general goals helps us trust Him and cooperate so we can reap the benefits of a season of affliction.
Protection. After Paul fervently prayed that his thorn in the flesh be removed, God revealed to him that it was a protection from pride. We all have areas of weakness that could lead us into sin, and God in His wisdom knows how to safeguard us. Sometimes pain accomplishes what nothing else can.
Reliance. Paul’s thorn, which made him weak, also taught him to endure by relying on Christ’s grace and strength. In the same way, the troubles in our life often bring us to the end of our rope so we’ll reach out to the Lord in humble dependence. Then we are positioned to receive the divine strength He promises to provide.
Divine Perspective. When Paul finally realized what the Lord was trying to accomplish in his life, he viewed his suffering in a totally different way. He stopped focusing on it as a pain and hindrance and instead became content: Paul could actually rejoice because he recognized that Christ’s power in him was more important than freedom from pain.
Unless we realize that God always prioritizes the eternal over the temporal, we won’t see the value of pain. According to 2 Corinthians 4:17, “Momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.” Therefore, we don’t lose heart.
Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 15-17