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Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Purpose in Suffering?

He will wipe every tear from their eyes,
And there will be no more death
or sorrow or crying or pain.
All these things are gone forever.”
REVELATION 21:4 (NLT)



Few things make Jan and me sadder than reality-denying speeches that go something like this: “Oh praise the Lord I’m going through this! Praise the Lord for this pain!” That may sound spiritual, but it’s not. It’s false. Suffering is not a pleasant thing, and to limp around with fake smiles on our lips and saccharine words on our tongues does a terrible disservice to the gospel.


If pain itself were so great, why is God going to do away with it in heaven? No, it’s not the pain for which we are to be joyful, but the good results that it can produce in us. To deny the pain and the suffering and the agony is to lie and to cease living in the truth. And neither honors God or helps us.



We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials,
For we know that they help us develop endurance.
And endurance develops strength of character,
and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
ROMANS 5:3-4 (NLT)



On the journey with you,
Jan & Dave Dravecky

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Purpose in Suffering?, Words of Endurance

We can rejoice, too,
when we run into problems and trials,
for we know that they help us develop endurance.
And endurance develops strength of character,
and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
And this hope will not lead to disappointment.
ROMANS 5:3-5 (NLT)



The connection between pain and spiritual strength is made repeatedly in Scripture. It is no accident, for example, that the wonder words “strong, firm and steadfast” in 1 Peter 5:10 appear in the context of “after you have suffered a little while.”


God’s indispensable means of making us strong – whether physically or spiritually – is suffering. We may not like it, we may fight it, and we may try to squirm away from it, but it’s a fact – immovable, unwavering and rock solid.



And the God of all grace,
who called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
after you have suffered a little while,
will himself restore you and
make you strong, firm and steadfast.
1 PETER 5:10 (NIV)



On the journey with you,
Jan & Dave Dravecky

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Perseverance, Purpose in Suffering?, The Search for Answers, Trust, Words of Endurance

Endure hardship as discipline;
God is treating you as his children.
For what children are not disciplined by their father?
If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—
then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.
Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it.
How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!
They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best;
but God disciplines us for our good,
in order that we may share in his holiness.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.
Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace
for those who have been trained by it.
HEBREWS 12:7-11 (NIV)



I was home alone. It was the day before Dave and I were leaving for Sloan Kettering in New York where he was to have his left arm amputated.



They had announced via the national media that Dave was going to have the amputation and now our phone was ringing off the hook. People from all over the country were calling to tell Dave not to have the amputation –they told us to have more faith – they shared that God does not intend for us to suffer.



Still, in the throes of a dark depression and a mind that felt like a rusty computer, I can remember hanging up the phone for the tenth time that day and feeling nothing but confusion. I grabbed my Bible and threw myself on the floor in our family room.



I cried out to God and I pleaded, “If you don’t intend for us to suffer then why are we suffering? Father, it can’t be this hard. Please take away the confusion and show me Your Truth.”



I had placed the Bible before me on the floor and as I opened my tear filled eyes the Bible had opened up to Hebrews 12 and my blurred vision then focused clearly on verse 7 “Endure all hardship as discipline; for God is treating you as his children…”



As discipline. It didn’t say hardship was discipline. It didn’t say God was bending us over the bed and beating our backsides to get us to straighten up. It said to endure hardship the same way you would endure your parents’ discipline. And how do we do that? By submitting to it, enduring it and learning from it.



I skimmed through the passage and stopped at verse 11: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”



Peace, That is what I needed. That is what I so desperately longed for. I realized then that peace would come but that it would come later, as the fruit of my struggle, as the harvest of a long growing season. What I needed until that harvest was a farmer’s patience.



I also needed to trust the love of my heavenly Father and know He was there in the midst of our pain and confusion. He was leading and teaching us for our good so that we may share in His holiness and the result was a peace that surpassed all understanding.



Be assured that God is in the midst of your pain and you can trust Him to guide and lead you through any valley. As you submit, endure and learn from it there will be a harvest of righteousness and peace for you –



God disciplines and teaches us because He loves us.



Though the Lord gave you adversity for food
and suffering for drink,
he will still be with you to teach you.
You will see your teacher with your own eyes.
Your own ears will hear him.
Right behind you a voice will say,
“This is the way you should go,”
whether to the right or to the left.
ISAIAH 30:20-21 (NLT)



On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky

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Hope, Perseverance, Purpose in Suffering?, The Search for Answers, Trust, Words of Endurance

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good
of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son,
so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
ROMANS 8:28-29 (NLT)



Probably one of the most quoted scripture shared with those who suffer is “… God causes everything to work together for the good …”. While Dave and I were in the midst of our pain and we would hear these words, we would think, “What good can come out of cancer, loss of arm and career, depression and the loss of loved ones?”



As we looked to the Scripture for answers we noticed that verse 28 is often quoted alone without verse 29. Verse 29 is important because it qualifies verse 28 and answered our question: The good that comes from our suffering is so that we may “… become like his Son …”.



And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. PHILIPPIANS 1:6 (NLT)



Please know that while we were in the midst of our trials we were not aware of the good work that was being done within us. But now that we are on the other side of our valley we cannot deny the good that has come out of our suffering. (Remember that hindsight is 20/20!)



  • We learned God’s Word. It was and still is our lifeline. PSALM 119:71

  • We learned that God could be trusted in the midst of our trials even when we did not understand.

  • He directed our path. We know we can trust Him in every trial. PROVERBS 3:5-6

  • We learned that God’s presence was not dependent upon our feelings. HEBREWS 13:5

  • We learned to persevere in the midst of suffering and our character matured – molded and shaped by the affliction. JAMES 1:2-4

  • Our faith was refined and our convictions were strengthened. 1 PETER 1:7

  • The ministry, Endurance, was birthed. We answered the call to comfort others as we ourselves were comforted by God. 2 CORINTHIANS 1:3-5


You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.
He brought me to this position
so I could save the lives of many people.
GENESIS 50:20 (NLT)
(Words of Joseph, son of Jacob, spoken to his brothers who sold him into slavery years before.)



On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky

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Pain, Purpose in Suffering?, Trust, Words of Endurance

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead,
even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.
These trials will show that your faith is genuine.
It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—
though your faith is far more precious than mere gold.
So when your faith remains strong through many trials,
it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day
when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
1 PETER 1:6-7



At first, Dave and I were able to suffer what I call “pretty.” In the early days of our cancer journey, we genuinely were able to say that our faith and trust in God were strong – we felt strong – we looked strong to those who knew us.



But when our pain went from days to weeks to months to years – it was then that our faith and trust began to waver. It was then that our own personal weaknesses started to rise to the surface. For Dave, it was anger and rage. For me, it was fear at the loss of control resulting in major panic attacks. It was not “pretty.”



Our faith was being refined by the fiery trial we were facing. The process of refining and purifying gold takes time and a great deal of heat. As the gold is heated the impurities rise to the surface. It is only then that the goldsmith is able to see the impurities and then remove them leaving a purer form of gold.



Through our refining process God tested our faith and exposed our weaknesses. Our weak and feeble faith was strengthened. We dealt with our exposed weaknesses and worked towards healing. During this time we read a book by Ron Lee Davis entitled “Gold in the Making.” We pray that you will be encouraged as we were by his words:



“For the Christian affliction is gold in the making.
If we will cooperate in the process, we will come forth as gold.
Why cooperate with God in being refined? Why continue to stand against the strong current of loss, heartache, stress, and pain?
Because it is in the hot forge of trials that true Christian character is shaped, hammered, tempered and matured.
It’s there that the life of Jesus Christ is given its maximum opportunity to become part of our very own life.
It’s there that our thin, fragile veneer of theology is replaced by a tough reliable hide of convictions that enables us to face and handle life instead of escaping it.”



May we all share the same unshakable conviction of Job …
But he knows where I am going.
And when he tests me,
I will come out as pure as gold.
JOB 23:10



On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky

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