By Deborah Lovett :
Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. (Acts 14:22, NIV Bible)
I believe God allows certain things in our lives so that we can share in the revelations of His love and suffering that we receive through our own hardships. Many times we only want to share in the ‘good’ things He allows into our lives, and don’t understand the other things He allows.
Many times people help feed fear, guilt and shame that may come from suffering. Granted, some suffering is a result of our own choices, some the choices of others: but some is neither.
Let me share a few of the insights God has been showing me:
- He is the Redeemer of Suffering. He redeemed Jesus’ suffering and He will redeem ours, in His time. It is not called the “Death, Burial and Resurrection” for nothing!
- The bigger the suffering, the bigger the plan, the bigger His glory and grace will be showcased!
- God’s mission for us includes seeing things from an eternal perspective, and being available to Him. Therein lies our joy.
- Many trials bring spiritual maturity–if we are listening.
- There is a method to His madness! It is spelled: LOVE.
Then as I sat there listening to Him intently; He asked me a question I didn’t want to hear, for I was asking just the opposite:
I was asking Him: “When do the trials end?”
He was asking me: “Even if the trials never end, will you trust Me?”
Remember not to live in your pain, as much as you do in the plan that God sets before you in that pain. Try to set aside your circumstances from your spirituality for a moment and find the purpose. It is equally important to remember that all of our suffering is not the result of some sin or failure. Job suffered because he was a righteous man. He was chosen to suffer, much like Jesus was the Chosen One.
Are you going through many trials? James 1:2 tells us:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”
How can you rejoice, you might ask? Well, if you are going through hardships “in Him” the book of John tells us we will bear much fruit. But apart from Him, we can do nothing. (15:4,5) So we can rejoice in Him, and the fruit that is waiting.
The enemy is on full force attack. But God promises in Deuteronomy 1:30 “The Lord your God who is going before you, will fight for you…before your very eyes and in the desert.” The next time you cry out, “Why do I suffer!”, choose to trust the Lord, and His purposes for you. Hang on to your hope and trust, God knows your hearts and will prove Himself faithful.