Suffering helps me look upward and is not something that happens to people of the Bible but also to every believer in Jesus who cries out to Him. When you reflect on a difficult time, how did the Lord use that to draw you to Him in prayer? When Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, they were going through a time of persecution and suffering, but the Lord would use this difficult time to draw them into a closer relationship with Him.
2 Thessalonians 1:3 Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you because your faith is flourishing, and your love for one another is growing. 4 We proudly tell God’s other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering.  The enemy was using persecution in an attempt to break the faith of the Thessalonians, but instead, they grew in faith and love for one another. As they grew in faith, it was evident that the Thessalonians were looking to the Lord for strength during this trial.
Trials of Life Refine Us
We will experience difficulties in life as we live in a rebellious world against God. Troubles can be due to others, ourselves, or something we can’t control, such as nature. The Bible teaches us no matter where our problems come from, the Lord can use them to refine us.
Romans 5:3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.  Going through a time of suffering that helps us rely on God is a unique way the Lord uses to refine us and transform us into the person He desires us to be.
Suffering Enables Us to Comfort Others
One of my friends has been a counselor for many years and had a tough childhood filled with abuse. As a young person, he came to know the Lord, and He healed him of his childhood experiences. Through these unpleasant experiences, the Lord would give him a heart and insight into others who had experienced similar experiences that would help him as a counselor. Paul writes about how our suffering can help others.
2 Corinthians 1:3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. Whatever trouble or persecution you have gone through in your life, the Lord can heal and use you to help others.
To learn how suffering helps me look upward, listen here: