Kiss the Wave

God Does Not Waste Our Suffering, Neither Should We

James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

Whew! There are some challenging thoughts here. These verses are meant to encourage, but it also sounds a little daunting. Experiencing and surviving the trials of life can be challenging enough, but God wants me to rejoice and savor them? We understand that persevering through trouble helps grow our lives spiritually, but embracing these moments can magnify God’s glory in our hearts and the lives of others.

God is not imploring us to enjoy or take pleasure in the actual process of suffering. He is helping us focus our sights on the end results. Through His strength and grace, I can understand that every trial builds my patience and reliance on Him. I can rejoice in the fact that I am suffering with Him, and ultimately, “His glory shall be revealed.”

    So, what does “joyful suffering” look like? Does it have a happy disposition? Does it have a beaming smile? Does it have a constant positive attitude speaking inspirational quotes? How does a suffering heart rejoice?

    It is found in our reliance and contentment in Christ. I’ll reference a quote from Charles Spurgeon that God has used to help focus my perspective during some of life’s hardest moments. He said, “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.” What a profoundly beautiful thought! God’s intention in trial and suffering is not ill-willed. God wants to use the storms of life, not to drive us downward or outward, but toward a deep, abiding shelter in Him.
“I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.”

    All of God’s children will suffer. Peter and James have already brought that to our attention. Think it not strange the fiery trial which is to try you. However, through God’s strength, we can “suffer well.” Suffering is not easy. Pain, trouble, and death are not enjoyable things, but they can drive our minds and hearts to an intimate dependence in our God.     “Kissing the wave” means we can stop running, stop digging, pull out of our fear, hysteria, and trepidation. We can stop searching frantically for an escape from our problem because God has promised to take part in our suffering. In fact, he already has born our deepest suffering, on the cross. We can cling to Him, hide in Him, embrace Him, rest in Him, and be carried by Him.     God does not waste our suffering. We should not waste it either. Think about these ways that God has told us He can work in our trouble.

  1. He reveals His glory to us and in us. – 1 Peter 4:12-13
  2. He grows and matures us spiritually. – Romans 5:3-4
  3. He displays His work in us. – John 9:1-3
  4. He comforts us. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
  5. He allows us to comfort others. – 2 Corinthians 1:4-5
  6. He proves we cannot be separated from His love. – Romans 8:35
  7. He allows us to know Him. – Philippians 3:10

    Ultimately, like a wave driving a helpless vessel to shore, the waves of suffering carry us to the Rock of Ages. What is my responsibility in the suffering? Let go, and let God do His perfect work. What am I supposed to “do” in my suffering?

1 Peter 4:19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

I simply do what God has called me to do in the first place. His mission for me never changes. What God desires for my life in good times, he also desires for my life in trials. As hard as it may be, I need to embrace the waves of life for His glory.

1 Peter 4:16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.