Necessity of Suffering

He brought His people out of Egypt with joy, His chosen ones with rejoicing (Psalm 105:43).

A chrysalis was hanging from a branch. Inside, a butterfly seemed to be struggling. Curious to witness its emergence, an observer waited. Time passed, however, and the insect was still trapped in its self-made prison. So the person made a small tear in the chrysalis—hoping to relieve the butterfly’s struggle and suffering. It soon died, for the struggle to be free is essential to making a butterfly strong enough to survive. Without adversity, it won’t achieve maturity.

When we first read Psalm 105, it appears to be a joyful account of praise and worship, remembering all the things God had done for His people Israel. And it is! But if we look closer, we see that the events described were neither fun nor happy—quite the contrary. Joseph, used by God to deliver Israel, was first sold into slavery and dragged off in chains (Psalm 105:17-18). God’s chosen people were later mistreated and enslaved in Egypt (Psalm 105:25).

It couldn’t have been easy for the Israelites to see all the plagues of Egypt erupt around them while the Egyptians’ hate turned white hot against them (Psalm 105:28-38). Even the accounts of Moses striking a rock to produce water and the arrival of quail in the desert were times of intense trial and stress for God’s people (Psalm 105:40-41). Whole families—exhausted, thirsty, hungry—wandered in a foreign desert.

This is the way God works: providing in the midst of our suffering in order to develop and mature us. By doing so, He brings honour to His name and leads us to worship Him for who He is, not simply because life is going well. Struggles present opportunities to praise Him even as our faith is being tested. And His power provides what we need during our times of necessary suffering.

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Necessity of Suffering