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Suffering is a Teacher

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

As followers of Jesus, we don't really like to talk about suffering. We tend to like to praise God when good things happen, when we land the big deal, our kids succeed at something they worked hard for, or when God provides in some overt way. More often than not, when suffering comes we are tempted to get angry, blame God or others, and try to get out of suffering as quickly as possible.

The apostle Paul knew a lot about suffering. Like most of use, he learned the hard way that suffering can be an incredible teacher when we allow it to shape our lives. In Romans, Paul writes, "...suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint" (Romans 5:3-4). Perseverance, character, and hope--those are great qualities to have. I desire those for myself, and also for our kids.

I watched our kids suffer a lot in the three years between Anna's diagnosis and passing. I would never wish those years or that experience of losing Anna on any family. However, our family learned perseverance, character, and hope in the midst of loss and tragedy. The kids, specifically, could have chosen bitterness and fear, but instead have chosen trust and hope, believing that God is still with us, even in the midst of something we do not understand. The four of us continue to learn together that suffering is a teacher.

"Suffering is not so much about pain as it is about giving up and losing control." - Dan Bruner

--Shawn Petree, Teleios President--

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