Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | May 26, 2011

A Process With A Purpose

On Mother’s Day I posted a blog entitled “On Heaven’s Shore” in which I wrote about a dream my mother had recorded on a note card and then tucked away in one of her books. When my sisters read the post, they told me that Mom had told them about her dream. Laura, my youngest sister, sketched a drawing of Mom’s dream and then gave her the drawing. Well, she recently found that pencil drawing that she had given to Mom. Unbeknownst to Laura, Mom had written the words “Suffering is a process with a purpose” across the top of the page and then filed it away. Two years after Mom’s death Laura found the drawing in a drawer.

Mom's Note on Suffering
It’s probably safe to say that most folks do not like suffering and would prefer to avoid it if at all possible. Suffering is one of the things we hate but also one of the things that can have a profound impact on our personal growth. On Mondays, I receive a devotional email from a Cambodian man named Veasna Eddie Khem. I met Eddie through our mutual friend, David Sinclair. Eddie wrote the following in this week’s devotional installment:

Life is full of sudden changes, in which hardness comes unexpectedly to many of us. To this day, I still remember when I was living on the street as a beggar at 8 years of age in 1970. At 11 years old, I was seriously electrocuted. At 13, I was kicked at, beaten up, and forced to evacuate from my own home with a gun (AK-47) pointed at my head. At 14, my father was executed and his body was dismembered; and my mother was beaten. I was put to work in labor camps without having food much to eat. At 17, I was forced to be with the Khmer Rouge (KR) group – extremist communist government. At 18, I escaped from the KR and walked with bare feet through thick jungles.

As I read Eddie’s words I thought about the words my Mom had written across Laura’s sketch: Suffering is a process with a purpose. Eddie would agree. He concluded his devotional with the following words:

I believe hardness is the only true school of godly living. After living in the camps along the Thailand border for about two years, my family was sponsored by a Christian group and brought to Austin, Texas in 1983 when I was 21 years old, and my mother, brother, and sister became Christian in 1984. Then, I have had struggles with learning English, accepting a new culture, making a living, dealing with difficult people, racists, etc. It has been 40 years since my hardships began. In Him, I have overcome the hardness and been blessed. Great to be in the promised land, USA!

The Bible assures us that suffering is indeed a process with a purpose. Joseph said to the brothers who had sold him into slavery, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Gen. 50:20). Job said, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him” (Job 13:15). The Apostle Paul said, “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Rom. 5:3-5). Knowing what God can do in our lives through suffering does not make suffering any easier. But, it can help us to persevere, believing that one day we will understand the reason why and how suffering is a process with a purpose.


  1. You told me about this post earlier in the week but I didn’t read it until today, when I needed it most. This is one of your best.

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