This is what I've been learning as of late...
...when we suffer, it's because we're learning to ENDURE. Romans 5:3 says so:
"We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know suffering produces endurance."
Don't get me wrong. I don't wake up every morning and say "Jesus, please let me suffer so I can learn all about endurance." Maybe I should pray that way? I don't know. But it's not on the forefront of my mind. I'm usually pleading with Him, "Please let me have a good day and don't let anything bad happen and if it does please don't let it last long!"
In our suffering, we become more like Christ. I had a conversation with my mother, who, if you know her, know she is a walking Bible because she can quote just about anything from it. She learned that from her Nana, who was the same way. In this conversation, my mother told me that she once heard a pastor say that we are never more like Christ than when we are in the midst of suffering.
It puts things into perspective, that's for sure.
I am reminded of what I learned over the summer in Vienna. Jesus is building a mansion inside of us. And in order to do that, he has to get rid of all the crap. And to get rid of all the crap, he has to dig and strip and refurbish. My response to that when Lindsay was discipling us was "But what if I just want a shack and not a mansion?" Ha ha, I know. No, Jesus wants the best for us. In order to have the best, we have to be stripped of everything else.
And just when we think we're pruned, He continues to dig and strip us.
But just remember: SUFFERING. PRODUCES. ENDURANCE.