Several years ago, I remember someone asking me if it was possible for suffering to be a blessing. At the time, I thought they were crazy. After walking through many paths of suffering, I've decided that yes, suffering can be a blessing. The Psalmist writes in Psalm 73 about how God held onto him in his darkest hours and about how he experienced the nearness of God. I think this is what James meant in 1:2, when he challenged us to consider it pure joy when we encounter various trials. It's not that we enjoy suffering, but that we experience Christ in suffering.
One year when I went to Africa, it seemed as everything went wrong. They lost my luggage; my hotel room flooded. They messed up our reservations and I ended up staying in a room alone my first night in Nairobi. Three days later, my luggage arrived but in searching my bags they opened my coffee creamer. No biggie right? Well, they didn't close it so all my stuff was covered in sticky white cream! My other suitcase was carrying food bags for the orphanages -- they burst. On and on it went. "Consider it pure joy" became my mantra that trip. I was determined not to let the "little" things get to me.
When I heard Laura Story's song, "Blessings" on the radio, I was thrilled. It seemed to capture the essence of this message in my heart. (Notice the yellow flower in the video --- if you've read Tears to Joy, you understand the significance of this flower) I want to share it with you below and I'd love to hear from you about a time God turned your suffering into a blessing.