When it comes to suffering, there is enough to go around without us making martyrs of ourselves. When it comes to
‘the discipline of suffering’ in our life or in the lives of those
we care for, we must watch out for our natural tendency to self-pity and maybe even to sympathize. This second brief post on the theme of suffering is from Oswald Chambers.
‘Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.’
1 Peter 4:19 ESV
‘To choose to suffer means that there is something wrong; to choose God’s will even if it means suffering is a very different thing. No healthy saint ever chooses suffering; he chooses God’s will, as Jesus did, whether it means suffering or not. No saint dare interfere with the discipline of suffering in another saint. The saint who satisfies the heart of Jesus will make other saints strong and mature for God. The people who do us good are never those who sympathize with us, they always hinder, because sympathy enervates. No one understands a saint but the saint who is nearest to the Saviour. If we accept the sympathy of a saint, the reflex feeling is-‘Well, God is dealing hardly with me.’ That is why Jesus said self-pity was of the devil (see Matthew 16:23). Be merciful to God’s reputation. It is easy to blacken God’s character because God never answers back. He never vindicates Himself. Beware of the thought that Jesus needed sympathy in His earthly life; He refused sympathy from man because He knew far too wisely that no one on earth understood what He was after. He took sympathy from His Father only, and from the angels in heaven. (Cf. Luke 15:10) Note God’s unutterable waste of saints. According to the judgement of the world, God plants His saints in the most useless places. We say-‘God intends me to be here because I am so useful.’ God puts His saints where they will glorify Him, and we are no judges at all of where that is.’
From Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest