Why Does Suffering Exist? // Suffering Strips the Flesh

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Trials have a way of molding us into different people. When I went through an intense season of long-suffering (about 3 years long!) in my twenties I came out a different person. I felt as if my pride, lack of understanding towards others, and selfish desires were constantly chiseled at in very painful ways. My flesh was being stripped and my spirit was being forged in the fire.

When Christ came to Earth he suffered to the greatest extent any human had or would in history. He wrapped himself in flesh and inserted himself into the middle of chaos so that death could be conquered. The Son of God faced hatred and persecution not only in his 33 years on this planet but also in his final hours leading to death. Taking on the sins of humanity as his flesh was pierced and he himself mocked.

Jesus suffered great lengths for you and I, out of his immense love and grace. As 1 Peter puts it, he suffered in the flesh so that if we would do the same, sin would cease. When you decide to place faith in Jesus at the middle of your suffering, you have victory over sin. This means that when you suffer, the flesh is starved and its selfish desires chipped away.

I love the way The Message illustrates 1 Peter 4:1,

Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.

Our flesh riddles us to seek purpose, healing, and comfort in the world. When you suffer and look for hope in Christ, your flesh is denied and the spirit is fed. Step by step, trial by trial, you learn to desire less of this world and crave more that has eternal value.