After listening twice to the late Elisabeth Elliot’s newest book, “Suffering Is Never For Nothing,” I was in awe at the rich and honest content. I had read “Through Gates of Splendor” years ago. This new book was compiled from a set of CDs of Elisabeth’s teachings on “Suffering Is Never For Nothing” by a publisher named Jennifer Lyell, who gathered the material into book form.
The second time I listened to this book, I stopped and copied-and-pasted things that Elisabeth said or mentioned that were either encouraging or just struck me—like the poem at the very end. That was such a relatable poem—so much so that I’m definitely going to write it down! Elisabeth’s definition of suffering is so true and relates to everybody. But my favorite chapters of the book were the chapter on acceptance and the chapter on transfiguration. Surprise, surprise, I still struggle with acceptance of my handicap and trusting the Lord with my life. In fact, I’ve been struggling to be content with where I am in life. I’m still living in Stillwater and going to the same church (not that I don’t love my church). I’m still living with my parents (for which I’m very thankful to them and love them). And, of course, I’m still living with dystonia and typing everything out until the end of time. I’m being a little dramatic here about the typing, but it can get annoying at times. See, I told you I have trouble with accepting things.
I have learned several things after listening to this book. Anyway, I hope you’ll enjoy reading some of these highlights from “Suffering Is Never For Nothing.”
“There have been some hard things in my life, of course, as there have been in yours, and I cannot say to you, I know exactly what you’re going through. But I can say that I know the One who knows. And I’ve come to see that it’s through the deepest suffering that God has taught me the deepest lessons. And if we’ll trust Him for it, we can come through to the unshakable assurance that He’s in charge. He has a loving purpose. And He can transform something terrible into something wonderful. Suffering is never for nothing.”
“I’m convinced that there are a good many things in this life that we really can’t do anything about, but that God wants us to do something with. And I hope that by the time I’m finished, I will have made myself clear.”
“And here it is, my definition of suffering. ‘Suffering is having what you don’t want or wanting what you don’t have.’ I think that covers everything.”🤔
“The deepest things that I have learned in my own life have come from the deepest suffering. And out of the deepest waters and the hottest fires have come the deepest things that I know about God.”
“Where does this idea of a loving God come from? It is not a deduction. It is not man so desperately wanting a god that he manufactures Him in his mind. It’s He who was the Word before the foundation of the world, suffering as a lamb slain. And He has a lot up His sleeve that you and I haven’t the slightest idea about now. He’s told us enough so that we know that suffering is never for nothing.”
“Job never denies God’s existence, never imagines that God has nothing to do with his troubles, but he has a thousand questions and so do we.”
“That raises another painful question, doesn’t it? We often say ‘Why did such and such have to happen to her? She’s such a wonderful person. Why did he have to go through this? He’s such a wonderful person.’ Well, again, the word is, ‘Trust Me.’” 👈👈
“What is this great symbol of the Christian faith? It’s a symbol of suffering. That is what the Christian faith is about. It deals head-on with this question of suffering, and no other religion in the world does that.”
“’In the cross be my glory ever.’ The answer comes not in the form of a revelation or an explanation or a vision but in the form of a person. He comes to you and me in our sorrow. And He says, ‘Trust Me.’ ‘Walk with Me.’”👈
“Acceptance, I believe, is the key to peace in this business of suffering.”
“We’re not adrift in chaos. We’re held in the everlasting arms. And therefore, and this makes a difference, we can be at peace and we can accept. We can say yes, Lord, I’ll take it.”💕
“God is saying, ”Trust Me.” Accept it now. See later.”👈
“Whatever is in the cup that God is offering to me, whether it be pain and sorrow and suffering and grief along with the many more joys, I’m willing to take it because I trust Him. Because I know that what God wants for me is the very best. I need pain sometimes because God has something bigger in mind. It is never for nothing. And so I say, ’Lord, in Jesus’ name, by Your grace I accept it.’”😳 So hard!
“Just start thanking God in advance because no matter what is about to happen, you already know that God is in charge. You are not adrift in a sea of chaos.”💕
“Love still wills my joy.”💕
“We need Jesus Christ, our refuge, our fortress, the stronghold of my life. It takes desolation to teach us our need of Him.”💕
“Where is Jesus putting His finger in your life today? Maybe there is an unanswered prayer that you have been battering away at God’s door for years about, and it just seems as though He’s not paying attention. Maybe there’s some deep resentment in your heart because somebody has hurt you, somebody has done something which humanly speaking is unforgiveable.”
“I don’t think I need to thank God for the cancer or for the murder. But I do need to thank God that in the midst of that very situation the world was still in His hands.”
“It is in these very situations which are so painful—having what you don’t want, wanting with all your heart something that you don’t have—that thanksgiving can prepare the way for God to show us His Salvation.”💕
“Psalm 55: 22, ‘Cast your burden on the Lord and He shall sustain you’ (kjv). To my amazement and delight I discovered that that word burden in the Hebrew is the same word as the word for gift. This is a transforming truth to me. If I thank God for this very thing which is killing me, I can begin dimly and faintly to see it as a gift. I can realize that it is through that very thing which is so far from being the thing I would have chosen, that God wants to teach me His way of salvation. I will take the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. I will say, ’Yes, Lord.’ I will say, ’Thank You, Lord.’”💕
“We are totally destitute. Everything that we have comes from Him and we have nothing to offer except what He has given us.”
“’Well how did you handle being alone?’ To which I reply, ‘I didn’t. I couldn’t. I have to turn it over to Somebody who can handle it.’ In other words, my loneliness became my offering. And so if God doesn’t always remove the feeling of loneliness, it is in order that every minute of every day, perhaps, I have something to offer up to Him and say, ‘Lord, here it is. I can’t handle this.’”
“Let me ask you, who are the people who have most profoundly influenced your life? Those who have most profoundly influenced my life are without exception people who have suffered because it has been in that very suffering that God has refined the gold, tempered the steel, molded the pot, broken the bread and made that person into something that feeds a multitude—of whom I have been one of the beneficiaries.”👈 (People who go through things inspire me to press on.)
“The idea of transfiguration follows very naturally and logically from acceptance, gratitude, and offering. If we receive the things that God wants to give us, if we thank Him for them and if we make those things an offering back to God, then this is what’s going to happen—transfiguration, the great principle of exchange that is the central principle of the Christian faith—the cross. We know that the cross does not exempt us from suffering. In fact, the cross is a symbol of suffering. In fact, Jesus said you must take up your cross.”
“Life comes out of death. I bring God my sorrows and He gives me His joy. I bring Him my losses and He gives me His gains. I bring Him my sins, He gives me His righteousness. I bring Him my deaths and He gives me His life. But the only reason God can give me His life is because He gave me His death.”
“And when that seed falls into the ground, it’s gone. It may never be seen again. But we know for sure that nothing is ever going to come out of that seed unless it falls into the ground, into the dark, into the unknown, into ignominy and death. But out of that seed, then, comes the great harvest, the golden grain. So that is the principle of exchange. I give Him my deaths and He gives me His life. My sorrows, He gives me joy. My losses, He gives me His gains. This is the great principle of the cross”👈
“He exchanges my weakness, my losses, my sins, my sorrows, my sufferings. When we offer them to Him, He has something to give us in exchange, and that might feed a multitude”💕
“Our perspectives need to be transfigured, changed into something that has glory in it.”👈
“Well, we Christians, we’ve got this whole book full of wonderful stories like that and the end of every single one of them is the same. It’s glory every time. Would you like to have the story of Joseph without all his trials and tribulations, without his going into the pit? What would you know about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego if they’d never gone into a fiery furnace? The blessing of Fanny Crosby’s life has been enormously increased through knowing that these words of these beautiful gospel hymns came from a woman who never saw the light of day, or at least never remembered seeing it from the age of six weeks. Everything has been transfigured in their lives because we know the end of the story”💕💕💕
“Christ suffers in me. Now if I suffer because I am a member of His body, I may be a sore member, but He suffers with me and for me and in me. And when I suffer, He suffers. Christ suffered on the cross. He bore all my sins, all my griefs and all my sorrows. And yet there is a full tale yet to be fulfilled. I don’t understand it. I simply affirm it. I accept it.”
“In closing, I want to give you a poem written by Grant Colfax Tuller. ‘My life is but a weaving between my Lord and me; I do not choose the colors, He worketh steadily. Oft times He weaveth sorrow and I, in foolish pride, forget He sees the upper, and I the under side. Not till the loom is silent and the shuttles cease to fly, shall God unroll the canvas and explain the reason why. The dark threads are as needful in the Weaver’s skillful hand, as the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned.’ 💕💕💕Everything that happens fits into a pattern for good. Suffering is never for nothing.”👈😊
5 thoughts on “Highlights From “Suffering Is Never For Nothing””
My Dear sweet Abby!
Thank you so much for sharing your heart & those beautiful excerpts from Elisabeth~she’s one of my favorite heroes, too! I will be passing it on to my ladies here! Keep up your encouraging ministry!! God will give your fingers the strength you need! 😉 Love you!
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Oh Abbey…thank you again for your transparency, your encouragement, and the challenge that comes from both. Many people have been pointed to the Lord and His strength and grace because of the trials and struggles that you are living through. Thank you for striving to be right with the Lord through your trials. Thank you for sharing the challenging thoughts from this author. What a blessing it was to me today!!🙌🏼
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I loved the list of quotes. This made me want to read the book along with praying for you on your journey!
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Can’t wait to read it! You always have the best book recommendations! Thanks for compiling her quotes. ❤️I want to print them off and put them in my journal. Sooo good.
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I love Elisabeth Elliott and so grateful to you, Abby, for the revelation that this book exists and for you taking time to publish these amazing, affirming quotes. So true her definition of suffering! I’ve been saying to myself that I need to write a book called “The Reality of Reality” that really takes this idea of our true purpose on earth not really being about getting personal prayers answered but that we are here for two reasons alone: To worship our Father and to be used by Him. I’ve noticed that where ever there is any striving or longing for some person or thing in the Bible there is corruption (Cain & Able, David & Bathsheba, Jacob & Rachel, Judas & his idea of salvation for the Jews, for some examples). However, when our Father uses us to either intercede for others (Job or Daniel for examples) or calls us to simply praise Him in the midst of a trial (think of King Jehoshaphat), miracles happen. This is a reality that’s hard to accept in our flesh because it cries out for what it wants or needs first and foremost. It’s so hard to truly live out: “Seek ye first His Kingdom and Righteousness and all these other things shall be added” – with the caveat that the “other things” might not be exactly what YOU want or asked for – but what He believes is needful for you or those around you. Sobering…
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