In my past 30 years of practicing medicine, I have seen many people experience physical or mental suffering. None of us will seek pain by ourselves. We all hope to live a peaceful life. However, trials are a must for everyone, and no one can escape. Trials often come when you and I are least prepared. So what attitude should we have when facing trials?
I see trials as an opportunity for change. Many of my patients became Christians when they faced the challenge of illness. Because only in suffering can they know who they are. Each of us is helpless and weak and needs God’s help. Facing pain is often the best opportunity to get to know Jesus; trials are the best time to grow for a Christian. “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”(1 Peter 1:6-7) Because God loves you, He permits trials to do incredible work in you, letting the image of Jesus shape your life.
A few years ago, I became seriously ill and was on the verge of death. But God used this opportunity to build the character of my life. During my sick days, God showed me the horror and sin in my life, and I spent a lot of time in true confession and repentance to God. At the same time, God showed me the shortness of my life. I let go of many things I previously cared about and saw the eternal hope, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
But for me, the most critical learning is empathy. I have always tried to help patients find hope in their pain. But when I have baptized in despair myself, I deeply understood the patients’ mentality and their pain struggles. They don’t need profound teaching; they must be understood, accompanied, and encouraged. I don’t know how your situation is now. Are you facing a trial? Then offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving because you know that God loves you, and He wants to mold you, to make your life more like the image of the Lord Jesus, and to have the hope of eternal life. Perhaps you are currently helping relatives and friends who are suffering. They need you to be patiently by their side, listening, accompanying, and encouraging. Pray for them so they can experience God’s help firsthand and be more able to help those suffering.