I went to YouTube the other day to listen to my favorite Hymn, It Is Well with My Soul. I found several artists who had sung it but I was eager to hear the Wintley Phipps version. If you’ve never heard this guy you should YouTube him. He’s a gospel singer with a deep, rich, and full voice.
Before he sang, he shared a bit of the story about the song writer. Turns out the guy lost a child to scarlet fever, then lost four daughters in a ship wreck (his wife miraculously survived), and then lost another son to scarlet fever. In all six of his eight children died. Yet he was able to write It is Well with My Soul – an amazing testimony.
Then Wintley said something even more profound.
“It is in the quiet crucible of your personal private sufferings that your noblest dreams are born and God’s greatest gifts are given in compensation for what you’ve been through.”
As I thought about this I realized that he was right not just from my own life experiences but from what scripture teaches us in the stories it tells. Doesn’t it seem that all our Bible heroes suffered before God blessed them?
Think about these people:
The Nation of Israel
They all went through some stuff as God prepared them for their blessing.
Abraham – Told to leave his family and later asked to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Created the nations
Noah – Only righteous man (and family) to survive catastrophic flood that killed everything else
Moses – Spent 40 years in self-imposed exile and later wandered the desert for 40 years
David – Lived in a caves as he ran from King Saul who wanted to kill him
The Prophets – Most prophets were killed by their own countrymen due to the message from God
The Nation of Israel – Exiled several times due to disobedience
Jesus – Died on a cross to be raised in glory
The Apostles – All but one killed for preaching the gospel but created the church
Sometimes is seems as if God prepares us for our next blessing through the crucible of suffering just to make sure we are prepared and mature enough to handle the blessing.
So what does this mean for your current suffering? Well it could mean your blessing’s right around the corner! But you have to do one thing before God can give you that blessing; you have to change your thinking about suffering.
Instead of looking at hardship as a personal negative, perhaps you need to renew you thinking and praise God that He loves you enough to prepare you for your next blessing. Suffer in anticipation of God’s hand upon you. He will never give you more than you can handle even if it seems unbearable.
I think that even Jesus would agree that suffering sucks. But if we can do it with an eye toward glorifying God in all things perhaps Wintley is right and that God will compensate us for what we’ve been through.