A Purpose in Suffering

Something that has become a part of my story in the past year and half is the battle with chronic pain. I never thought that this would be something I would experience at a young age, but it has already taught me so much. I hope that the Lord can use my words to encourage people who may be experiencing something similar, be it chronic pain/illness or any other kind of suffering occurring in their life today. And what I may be going through may not be as bad as what others may be, but nevertheless I have been shown a few profound things in the midst of it.

After a snowboarding accident almost two years ago, I have had chronic headaches, neck pain and severe TMJ almost on a daily basis. Since being in Italy, all of this has increased to a whole new level (mainly because I am out of my normal environment). All this to say, God is so sweet to show me Himself in the midst of this. It is no coincidence that I stumbled upon an old postcast on my iPod the other day by John Piper called, “The Supremacy of Christ in Suffering.” Wow that title in itself says so much!

Piper talks about suffering in a way in which I have never thought about it before. He says that the ultimate purpose of suffering in this life is so that Christ could suffer on the cross. God chose to display His glory by placing Christ on the cross as the ultimate sacrifice and reconciling sinners to Himself through Christ’s sufferings. Suffering must exist on this earth in order for Christ to suffer in our place. Someone had to suffer for sins, and Christ did so. Therefore, suffering will exist on the earth in order for all of this to take place. I know that this is not easy to wrap our minds around, but I think that it is encouraging that we can share in Christ’s sufferings. What He did on the cross is inconceivable to us, mainly that He suffered both a terrible and painful death, as well as absorbed all the sins of the world onto Himself at the same time.

When I keep my eyes fixed on the way in which Christ suffered, I am encouraged in my suffering and pain. Suffering has to exist on earth in order for the cross to have occurred, and therefore suffering is inevitable. You may be thinking, is this supposed to make suffering any easier? I have thought that too. But what has made it easier is fixing my eyes upon how God can be glorified through my personal suffering. Today, I was encouraged by three verses in scripture that took my eyes off my personal pain and directed them toward Christ:

Philippians 3:10 “…That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and may share his sufferings becoming like Him in His death.”

1 Peter 4:13 “But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.”

2 Corinthians 1:5 “For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”

I know that my personal suffering is not in vain and neither is yours. When we do suffer, Christ comforts us and also allows us to comfort others in their suffering also. Our time on earth is temporary and when we endure all the trials, hardships and sufferings, none will compare to the glory that will be revealed to us (Romans 8:18). I hope this is an encouragement and that we can cling to the hope of what our Savior suffered on the cross!

“For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.” Hebrews 2:10

I love this song by Phil Wickham, because I think that it shows what Christ did on the cross in a beautiful way. I believe that suffering on this earth is worth it in order for Christ to have brought us in to relationship with Himself through His suffering:


2 thoughts on “A Purpose in Suffering

  1. Lynda Samen

    Melissa, God is using you in a huge way. He moved you to one of the Mellowist countries in the world to “Slow your Roll” little girl. He wants you to become more “child like” in yuour view of the world, so he took your ability to “fly through your day” away. He sent Arlene and I to Europe at the ripe age of 18 to learn the European lifestyle. We worked on a farm out in the fields of Austria with no language training at all. It was an awesome experience that I will cherish forever. Look out at your surroundings and absorb the History you are now living in. It is amazing that God’s grace has taken you so far.
    Your blog regarding pain has been helping your Grandmother and I get through our day. She has incredible knee pain and is hoping for a knee transplant, I PRAY for Healings all day long. Every time I go to Dialysis and suffer the pain of the needles I know it is bringing me closer to Christ. Sometimes we have to embrace the pain to get through it. I just turned on Joel Osteen and his sermon is on PAIN and SUFFERING too. We are all on the same page – we have to learn from the lesson. “I am hurting, but I am STILL here.” Oh my goodness, he’s talking about a dialysis patient now in his SERMON. I know this is meant at this moment I am writing you.)
    I believe God sent me my grandson, Chrisitan, to teach me to slow my roll and look at life with “child like amazement.” We have so much fun together every minute we are together. I can’t wait for you to meet Chrisitan, he is an “old soul” like you, on a Mission from God to renew our “spirits”. We go to feed the giraffes at the Living Desert 2 times a week, and just watching his face light up lights up my heart.
    This past week I went before Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack. That means that Your Aunt Arlene, your Father and your Aunt Lynda have all spoken before Congress on behalf of our projects. The Crutchfield/Samen clan have Missions from God all over the place. Yours just took you to an amazingly wonderous country. Enjoy the lessons, stop and take deep breaths and notice where you are and what you are doing there. Feel the Ancient history that is the opposite of where you were born in Vegas. When Elaine was 11 years old she wrote a book for school. In it we lived in Rome at the “bottom of the Spanish Steps.” Maybe one day we will have a family “estate” over there.
    Thanks for being such a GREAT inspiration. Because “we are still in the game” God is going to BLess us even more. Love you , God Bless you and keep you safe Melissa! Aunt Lynda and Grandmother Joan

    1. melissacrutchfield Post author

      Thanks for the encouragement! It’s truly amazing all that He is doing in all of our lives. I will certainly continue to pray for healing for you all! Thanks again for your uplifting words :]


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