3D pictures can look really effective, fooling us into believing there is a hole in the pavement when there is not, but they remind us that reality is often more complex than we like to believe. Christianity is often presented as the solution to suffering, and there is truth in this, but to say there will never be any suffering in life once Christ is accepted is not the full story. God does help us; Psalm 18 reminds us that God rescues us and draws us out of situations which overwhelm us; He is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Ps 46:1) Psalm 34:47 and Psalm 37:39-40 all remind us of God’s deliverance and help, but there are times when suffering comes on us. Jesus reminded us that the world hated Him and will hate us; our very difference to the world means there is an inevitable reaction (see John 15:18-19).

Heb 2:10 reminds us that Jesus was made perfect through what he suffered. He experienced insults, opposition, rejection, betrayal and a tortuous death, but this reminds us that suffering helps us to be complete. (Heb 2:17-18) We grow and develop as we go through problems and suffering. Paul – who was used mightily by God to bring healing and deliverance to others – suffered (see 2 Cor 12:7-10).We do not know the form of his suffering (the ‘thorn in the flesh’) , but he was told by God that his weakness actually reflected God’s glory and the comfort he received from God, he was able to pass on to others. (2 Cor 1:3-5). Suffering equips us to help others.

Suffering produces perseverance in us, teaching us to push through. Suffering is designed to refine us and make us better (not bitter.) We are sustianed through hope (Rom 8:16-17).In any situation, God is able to deliver us from it, heal us from it or take us through it. Any suffering we experience is used by God for the best for us. We can trust God to help us, no matter what.