I fought with God.
“I don’t want to write about that!” I told Him.
Nobody wants to talk about pain and suffering being the will of God in our lives. In fact there are some preachers that preach against that. Jesus told us He came to give us abundant life.
But He also told His disciples to take up their cross and follow Him. And we know that the cross was painful.
The more I study, the more I am convinced that we must embrace both hardships and abundance, and trust they are for a greater purpose in our lives as the Lord prepares us for what’s next.
Read these words from a woman who knew sorrow and Jesus well. Hannah Whitall Smith wrote,
If I see God in everything, He will calm and color everything I see! Perhaps the circumstances causing my sorrows will not be removed and my situation will remain the same, but if Christ is brought into my grief and gloom as my Lord and Master, He will ‘surround me with songs of deliverance’ (Ps. 32:7). To see Him and to be sure that His wisdom and power never fail and His love never changes, to know that even His most distressing dealings with me are for my deepest spiritual gain, is to be able to say in the midst of bereavement, sorrow, pain, and loss, ‘The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised’ (Job 1:21). ~Hannah Whitall Smith
God chose Job to endure the enemy’s testing because Job was one of God’s favorites. I’m encouraged by this. We’re often tempted to believe God is punishing us when bad things happen–that’s what Job’s friends thought, but the story of Job proves differently. God trusted Job’s faith. He trusted Job would worship Him even when all earthly blessing was lost and his own health deteriorated.Ultimately, in the process of the pain and suffering, Job saw God. Click To Tweet
“My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. . .” (42:5)
I pray we may have such eyes of faith. The rewards are coming.
I’m learning that suffering and sorrow are invitations to something deeper, sweeter, life-giving. There’s always that period of mourning or shock, and then there is the call. I write about it in A Mary Like Me
“Hard days come in all shapes and sizes. A difficult job. A loss of a loved one. Illness. A move. Loneliness. Heartbreak. Singleness. Infertility. Anxiety. Financial struggle. Divorce. The list goes on and on. Sometimes our own actions place us in those difficult days; they are the aftermath of our own free will. Sometimes they are totally out of our control. But God never intends for these hard days to become our identity or steal our dreams. He can use them to call us to new dreams as well as resurrect old ones” (p. 200).
I feel a prayer coming on. Hold my hand.
“Dear Father, thank you for being a God who loves us and has good plans for us. Lord, for my friends suffering today, please let them feel your presence. Strengthen them and open their eyes to see You in their circumstances. I cancel confusion, control, and self-pity in Jesus’ name. May our pain and sorrow bring glory and honor to you. Give us abundance even when there is nothing. You can do that. Amen.”
Reading Plan #BiteofBread
Monday: 2 Cor. 1:3-4
Tuesday: 1 Peter 5:10
Wednesday: Romans 8:18
Thursday: Romans 5:3-4
Friday: Romans 8:35
Saturday: Galatians 6:2
Sunday: Isaiah 53:3
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
1 Peter 5:10:
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.
Printable with questions and prompts
Want to dig deeper to live fully? Want to do more that just read the verses? If so, here’s a printable you can download with the scriptures and prompts to deepen your time with the Lord. Absolutely no cost! Not even an e-mail address!
I’m giving away Streams in the Desert. (It’s one of my favorite devotional classics.)
Just leave a comment to enter the drawing. If you are new to my blog, sign up to receive posts by e-mail to get two entries! (Three if you are a new sign up and comment too.) I’ll announce the winner next Monday (July 24, 2017) on my post and my Daily Broadcast.
Jesus loves you,