Last week I was having lunch with Keith one of our amazing staff members at Community Church. If you have met him, you know he is an encourager extraordinaire and has a contagious passion for life. While we ate he shared why he is so pumped about life. He said he began looking at life differently after he faced a series of brain surgeries. He went through a long journey of suffering and found God’s purpose in it. Now, he said, he is unwilling to waste a single day of his life. (By the way, if you want to meet Keith, join the Community Church Clean Team on Tuesday mornings at 9:00am. He leads it.)
When we suffer, many times, the result is great clarity. Through the challenges we begin to see the world around us with new clarity. Lose a job, get a difficult health prognosis, watch your parent die, experience chronic pain and much about your life will come into crystal clear focus. You learn that God is nearer than you realized. You discover there are issues of pride and self-reliance that you didn’t see before. You see how overworked, stressed and tired you are. You realize that the people in your life are of great value.
When suffering causes clarity there is one question you must answer. What will I do with the information that I have?
Here are a few ways to take advantage of times of clarity.
- Capture your insights. During times of suffering journal your thoughts and insights. You may not be able to act on them at that moment, but the words in your journal may end up being one of your most valuable resources.
- Tell someone you trust. One of the ways to turn clarity into action is to confide in someone you trust. Find someone in your small group, your family or circle of friends that will help you process what you have learned and encourage you to make changes where necessary.
- Depend upon God. Often the greatest opportunity for spiritual growth is during times of suffering. Take advantage of this time to completely depend upon God. Amp up your prayer life and listen for God’s voice. Read God’s word and look for ways to apply it. Be open to how God wants to mature your character and make you more like Christ.
“but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5