But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. -2 Corinthians 3:18

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. -Romans 12:2

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. -Philippians 1:6

Ever been through a painful ordeal, whether momentary or drawn out, where you wondered what the point of it was? Ever feel trapped in despair and hopelessness? Do you ask, was it just plain suffering, with no benefit? Sometimes, it can certainly seem that way.

God has a plan for your life. And Jesus assured us that we would have trouble in this world (John 16:33). But it is important that we identify this inevitable trouble, and how to properly endure it, to His glory.

In the “Boundaries” series of books by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend, they explain the difference between godly and ungodly suffering. And boy, was it eye-opening. Too many Christians—me included—go through ungodly longsuffering, thinking they are doing it for the Lord. What I learned was that, through godly suffering in interpersonal relations, both parties could grow and mature.

Sometimes, pain we experience is a warning to us that a correction needs to be made…maybe a direction or behavior needs to change. Or, it could be an indicator of something to face, rather than avoid.

If you are compliant by silently letting another person wrong you, you’re experiencing ungodly suffering…and it will happen again and again. If you take the discomfort of speaking up and speaking the truth about another person’s wronging you, you will experience godly suffering as you grow in learning to speak the truth and not stuff your feelings. The other person will be faced with the truth, and can then choose how to proceed with the truth.

By doing this, we are taking steps where God wants us to walk: toward Christlikeness. This is part of the Refiner’s Fire, where He walks us through the heat, and purifies us as we pass through it. And as we do that, our walk becomes straighter, and our perspective ever clearer than before.

When we grow and mature from experiencing godly suffering, He is glorified. And what a wonderful, loving God we have to do this for us!

Today’s soundtrack

Sidewalk Prophets’ “Help Me Find It” echoes our cries to the Lord to show us the way, especially when we see no way.