According to Paul, Christians should respond to suffering by patiently enduring it without getting discouraged, and also delight in it. Responding to suffering with patient endurance and contentment demonstrates that in our weakness, God is made strong because God’s power is perfected in weakness. When my father was diagnosed with brain cancer, it was a difficult 4 months having to deal with the process of his downward progression. All the while, my family and I were able to give thanks to the Lord for His merciful ways and how He providentially orchestrated each doctor visit and how a way was made by which he could still receive his income in order to provide for my mother. The Lord gave us strength throughout that time and His glory and power was evident in our hopeful waiting.
First, Christians are to understand that suffering is to be normative for Christians. We are to expect to suffer. Many have a wrong view of God and his care for us. We expect God to bless us and keep us happy, as if his highest goal is our comfort and pleasure.
Secondly, we are to view suffering and trials as an opportunity (pure joy) knowing that God has something good for those who rely on Him. A restored relationship, an evangelistic opportunity… being at heaven’s door.
My wife, after recovering from cancer, has been able to comfort others who have experienced similar afflictions. She is currently working with a young mom who is facing the battle of her life.
In our weakness God makes us strong.