Your Suffering Can Produce Something of Great Value

“He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”

Job 23:10 (NIV)

When I was going through treatment for breast cancer many years ago, I kept thinking about Job 23:10, which says, “He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold” (NIV).

I didn’t take that verse as a guarantee of physical healing. God didn’t owe me that. If God healed me, that was wonderful, but I didn’t see that healing was guaranteed in the verse.

What I did see was potential for producing what I would call “gold” in my life. If I would go through the trial in a way that honored God, then something of beauty could be produced. And I longed for the suffering I was going through to give birth to something lovely, something of lasting value, something as rich as gold.

“These trials are only to test your faith, to see whether or not it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests gold and purifies it—and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold” (1 Peter 1:7 TLB).

If your faith remains strong after being tested by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

Gold was produced in the fire of cancer in my life, and it continues to be produced in the fire of the suffering and grief of loss that engulfs me in the death of my son, Matthew. Through breast cancer, I gained a new ability to relate to people who suffer life-threatening illnesses. I stared death in the face, and I wasn’t as afraid anymore. I gained a new appreciation for the brevity of life and was more committed than ever to living each day God gives me with passion and purpose.

In the grief and devastation of losing Matthew, I have gained a more intimate walk with Jesus as I have learned how to trust him in the darkest place I have ever been. I have an increased longing for heaven. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is my dearest hope. I long for the restoration of broken bodies and broken minds that will take place in heaven. And in my suffering, I have learned how to comfort people in their suffering with the comfort God gives me.

This is the gold that God has produced in my life. He can do the same in your life when you allow him to use your pain for his glory.

Talk It Over

  • Think of a time of suffering in your life. What “gold” has God produce in you from that experience?
  • What does it mean to suffer well?
  • How does Job 23:10 challenge your perspective on suffering?

About Kay Warren

Kay Warren cofounded Saddleback Church with her husband, Rick Warren, in Lake Forest, California in 1980. After the death of her son, Matthew, who lived with serious mental illness for most of his life, she founded Saddleback’s Hope for Mental Health Initiative as a way to support individuals and family members of loved ones with mental illness and suicidal ideation. The Initiative also trains others in the faith community how to launch or expand existing mental health ministries.

Kay is a board member of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and is active in mental health/suicide prevention efforts in Orange County, CA. Kay is the author of Sacred Privilege: Your Life and Ministry as a Pastor's Wife, Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn't Enough, Say Yes to God: A Call to Courageous Surrender, and coauthor of Foundations, a popular systematic theology course used by churches worldwide. Her children are Amy and Josh, and Matthew (who is in heaven), and she has five grandchildren.

Learn more at and follow her on Facebook (KayWarrensPage) Twitter (@KayWarren1) and Instagram (@KayWarren75).

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