God's outlook on suffering is so different from our own. He sees not just the instance of suffering, but its end result. Not just the pain involved, but the refinement that is certain. Someone has said that from the perspective of eternity, the worst suffering this life could hold would look like "one night in a bad hotel." I believe that. But even though God's view of suffering is higher and longer than ours, He is always there to comfort us in our pain.
One of the most encouraging things about suffering is to see how God uses it not only in our lives, but in the lives of others. Two individuals in our church family have beautifully illustrated this. Blaine is a grade school student whose leg was amputated just below the knee due to cancer. Shortly after Blaine's surgery, Ted, a high school teacher, was involved in a four-wheeler accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. While Ted was working hard in rehab, he received this letter from Blaine, who had heard about his accident:
"Dear Coach "T": My name is Blaine. You may have heard about me, but I have cancer. I'm going through chemo and I know I'm going to lose my leg, so I know what you're going through. I bet it's hard knowing that you may not walk again, but keep praying for God to give you peace over this. He has given me peace. Never give up on God and keep on praying for a miracle, and never stop because he is always in the miracle business. Remember I'm praying for you. Love, Blaine H."
And then as a P.S. he added: "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." One last afterthought, scribbled at the bottom of the page, read: "Remember, God always has the BEST plans for you.."
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