There are so many wonderful and rich bible verses about suffering. The Church’s teaching about redemptive suffering is beautiful – do a thread search and you’ll find a lot of wonderful information already on these forums.
The basic idea is that we are to follow Christ in all things. He told us “If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine.” (Matt. 10:38) Sounds like a harsh Master, though, huh? But He’s not! He is a loving Savior who allows us to participate in the redemption of mankind by offering and uniting our sufferings with His.
Because of original sin and man’s free will, we will always have suffering in our lives. But our Loving God uses even the bad things of this world for good if we let Him, and in doing so we become transformed.
It is like gold that must be placed in the refiner’s fire in order to burn off all the impurities; it doesn’t become truly beautiful until after it is tested in the fire. Suffering helps us burn off all our impurities, all our pride, selfishness, etc. Each time we enter the fire, we emerge more pure, more like Jesus, because of His grace.
“Since we are His children, we will share His treasures – for all God gives to His Son Jesus is now ours, too. But if we are to share in His Glory, we must also share in His suffering.” (Rom. 8:17-18)
“For to you has been given the privilege not only of trusting Him but also of suffering for Him.” (Phil. 1:29)
“Don’t be bewildered or surprised when you go through the fiery trials ahead, for this is no strange, unusual thing that is going to happen to you. Instead, be really glad – because these trials will make you partners with Christ in His sufferings, and afterwards you will have the wonderful joy of sharing in His glory in that coming day when it will be displayed.” (1 Peter 4:12-13, 19)
Nobody escapes this life without some suffering. So why not learn to make it valuable? Archbishop Fulton Sheen said “There is so much wasted suffering in this world.” Mother Teresa said “Our Lord must love you much to give you so great a part in His suffering.”
There is a really great book by a man named John Downs who became quadriplegic at age 15 and went on to live 40 more years in this state. He has a larger biography called “Why” and a shorter pamphlet called “Suffering: A Key to the Meaning of Life.” Mother Teresa urged him to get his message out. They are available at:
God bless you and your friend!