Rejoice in Suffering

So this church I’m visiting (I’ve been trying out different churches in my community to find the one I like… I think I’m going to keep going to this one) had a message today on suffering with Jesus. The big idea of the sermon was, “you can suffer alone and be bitter, OR you can suffer with Jesus and be blessed.

I’m going to share a story about a time when I was suffering and didn’t rely on Jesus and how that affected me. 

My sophomore year of high school, the psychiatrist I was seeing for my depression decided to put me on a higher dosage of medication, but it was too high for my body to handle. I started to hear voices in my head (due to the change in chemicals in my brain from the medication), and they told me some really scary things. Eventually it got so bad that I resorted to self harm. I was hospitalized for a week, and as a result, I became bitter towards my psychiatrist. 

I couldn’t forgive her because of the suffering I had experienced, but that’s because I didn’t understand the power of God. He wants us to forgive, He wants us to love even when it it undeserved, and I didn’t understand that. 

In Matthew 22:29, Jesus says, “You’ve gone astray, because you don’t understand the Scriptures or the power of God.”

Jesus is right, I didn’t understand the Scriptures or the power of God. I let bitterness take hold of me and cause me to suffer more than I already was. It wasn’t until recently, a year and a half later, that I was able to forgive her. She didn’t know my body would react the way it did. 

But the suffering still continued. 

When I got back to school after being in a mental ward at a hospital, the kids at school were unbelievably rude to me. I would go home every night crying because of the things they would say to me, but I still didn’t rely on Jesus for help. In reality, God was blessing me because now I have a testimony and a story that inspires other teens like me. 

Matthew 5:11-12 tells us that, “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.”

God blesses your suffering, you just have to believe it! 

I hope the next time you are in a rut, you can genuinely thank God for what He has in store next for you. Suffering comes and goes, and it’s bound to happen to everyone, but it’s how you choose to suffer (with or without Jesus) that makes the difference. I hope you choose Jesus.