Most people would look at you really strange if you were to suggest that it's possible to "celebrate suffering." The World as a whole would find you extremely weird if you told them that you were thankful that God had allowed you to go through a time of suffering.
But isn't that exactly what James tells us to do in James 1:2-5 "Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing."
You see the truth of the Word here says that in order to be a mature believer, complete and lacking nothing, you MUST endure trials.
If you have not personally experienced great trials I would say that you may not know God in as intimate a way as someone who has suffered. Perhaps you've been through trials and yet you can not say that you are thankful for them at all because you've had a wrong perspective and have not found that place yet where you've sought God and His purposes with your whole heart so that you might better know Him and His will, and be able to ultimately thank Him for your sufferings. It is possible to be thankful for them. I am.
Our pastor has just completed a sermon series on the book of Job. In it he goes verse by verse through the book of Job and discusses the great mysteries of human suffering and God's Sovereignty. (Sovereign means Supreme in power; possessing supreme dominion; as a sovereign ruler of the universe. This means that God is the complete controller of all things, He answers to no one, and He is under the authority of no one. All things are under his control.)
At the beginning of his final sermon he reads from various emails he has received throughout teaching this series. The emails come from those who are currently in the midst of great trials, including one from a family we've had the privilege of meeting who's currently in B'ham with their adult son who's recently had a double lung transplant at UAB. That dear family is in the midst of great suffering. He has been sick, and weak, and is on a host of medications that make him feel all sorts of different ways. He has struggled physically, emotionally and spiritually. Please pray for this brother in Christ as the Lord leads. His name is Clay.
Platt closes his sermon with even more emails from people who have suffered great trials, and have come through them with a stronger faith, a greater respect and love for their God, and a better understanding of who He is. The final email he reads was sent by me.
If you are in the midst of a trial or struggle, you will find great hope and an eternal perspective through these sermons.
They are available for download here:
You will want to listen to them in order beginning with the sermon from 8/10, then 8/17, 8/24, and finally 8/31.
If you have stumbled upon this blog, and don't know our story, you can read a summary of it here in a post entitled "How We Came To Adopt" http://homeforhim.blogspot.com/2007/10/how-we-came-to-adopt.html .
God's grace to you and your's,