If you’re like me, you have probably found yourself asking how a good God could allow suffering in a believer’s life. Have you ever caught yourself wishing for the “good old days?” I am sure I am not the only one who has thought this. The truth of the matter is, if we had the chance to travel back to another time, we would find the same problems and trials that confront you and me now also existed back then. Trials come no matter who you are or what you do.
I have been through some pretty intense trials in my life where I have suffered greatly. However, as I look back I can say with all confidence that suffering prepares us in a variety of ways. Here are some of the lessons I felt compelled to share:
- Pressure creates strength: I learned that pressure from the outside creates strength on the inside. We can see this from a practical example like weight training. When we add resistance and weight to our workouts, it puts pressure on our muscles. The muscle then breaks down and becomes weak, however in the recovery, the muscle then becomes stronger. The human heart is extremely resilient and is able to overcome pain when given the tools to do so. If you find yourself walking through the fire, keep heart by knowing you will only come out stronger.
- God fights for us: In Exodus 14:14, the Israelites were under great oppression and they were quickly losing hope that they could ever be free. Moses assured them by saying, “The Lord will fight for you. You need only to be still.” The beauty of God is that He does not expect us to walk through the battlefield alone. Yes, we will have to take the necessary steps to freedom, however He is gracious enough to walk beside us. We are to place our fears on the alter of God and allow Him to handle our hurts. Sometimes the most powerful thing you can do while in battle is to just be still in the presence of God.
- Let go of control: Trials that go beyond our ability of control prove to us that we simply are not powerful, but that God is. Maybe today you are facing a time of suffering and you think the emotional pain is more than you can bear, or perhaps you are dealing with a series of disappointments. Instead of becoming fearful (that is what the devil wants you to be), I want you to soak in what the preacher Charles Spurgeon wrote: “God knows that soldiers are to be made in battle; they are not to be grown in peaceful times. We may grow the stuff of which soldiers are made; but warriors are really educated by the smell of powder, in the midst of whizzing bullets and roaring cannonades. Is He not developing in you the qualities of the soldier by throwing you into the very heat of battle, and should you not use every application to come off a conqueror?”
You have three choices here. You can continue to deny reality and wish for the “good ol’ days,” you can choose to take on the battles all on your own, or you can embrace the journey and ask God to walk along and guide you. My greatest breakthrough came when I realized that I needed a Savior, someone who is greater than I could ever aspire to me and I allowed Him into the journey with me. That is where I found my greatest victory.
And one amazing thing that often gets overlooked when people talk about suffering and setbacks, and it’s something we can learn from the story of Job in the Old Testament of the Bible…
God restores lost things! Whether it’s a lost relationship, lost dreams, lost resources or loss from health…whatever it may be, bring it back to God and ask Him to restore it for you.
In Job’s case, God gave him double what he had before.
He really is a good God…