In life we may face trials, tribulations, ups and downs, and storms—and we also experience joy, the mountaintop moments and those miraculous walking-on-water events on occasion. What do you do in the midst of suffering? How do you handle it when life throws you curveballs or off-the-wall trials and tribulations?
…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. (Romans 5:3-5)
Is it that simple to just say, “blessed be your name,” like Job said in the Old Testament and like Matt Redman sings? Sometimes praising God in the fire is hard or we don’t want to possibly be questioning God’s sovereignty, but it’s worth it because fire refines us. God knows what He is doing and what is best for us. Just like with Job, the Lord sharpens us and makes us come forth as gold treasure and strong enough for any battle. Look at Daniel (lions’ den) and the famous three thrown in the fire by King Nebuchadnezzar: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel chapter 3).
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself. (2 Timothy 2:8-13)
Why must good people suffer and why do bad things happen? Why are people persecuted and why do loved ones get sick and pass on? Sometimes God allows us to experience a hardship so we may rely on Him. Other times I think it’s so we appreciate what we do have when we experience loss; when we lose something valuable, we remember why Jesus had to die on the cross for our sins and brokenness. God sent His son Jesus Christ to die for us so we could live in eternity, and have hope and an abundant life (not always physically or materially), but spiritually we have strength and are rich.
We also may experience a trial (James 1) where God is testing us or refining our character. Jesus suffered a great deal by being mocked, spit on, crucified, beaten and nailed to a wooden cross for doing nothing, but he did God’s will because He knew if He endured obediently, the reward would be greater than this temporal pain on earth. Jesus knew that the value of salvation and souls was more important than His flesh crying out.
We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited… as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. (2 Corinthians 6:3-10)
What must we do when faced with suffering?
1. Turn to Jesus: We must read God’s Word (The Holy Bible), which is the truth that can see us free and feed our faith.
2. Pray: Ask God for wisdom and revelation on why He is allowing this struggle in your life. (James 4)
3. Trust: We must believe God is a good good father (Abba Daddy) who loves His children. Sometimes God corrects us; just like a parent will discipline their child, so will God. Sometimes it’s not because of us, but we must know God is omnibenevolent (which means He is always good, regardless of circumstances, amen?).
4. We must connect in fellowship: Keep going to church, Bible group and youth group to feed your faith, to drink the living water of life, to sharpen each other in fellowship and to increase in growth regarding your relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (John 15). When bad things happen, you need the family of God the most, so please don’t run away. Bond and connect to your sisters in Christ and know Jesus loves you!
5. Stand on the rock: Stand on God’s Word (the everlasting, eternal truth). You must believe Christ is the rock in order to weather the storms of life (Matthew 7). He is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega (first and the last), the bright and morning star, the foundation of all things and the cornerstone (the stone that holds all things together).
Read the story in the Bible (Matthew 7:24-27) about the wise builder who founded His life on the rock, and the foolish builder who chose to build His life on sinking sand (the temporal things like money or other people, trusting in lies or anything other than God/Christ/the Word).
Girls, one thing you need to remember is that everything always gets better! We go from glory to glory and nothing is impossible with God. Trials turn into triumphs and healing, tests turn into testimonies and your mess could be your greatest message! Don’t give up! You are NEVER ALONE! You have all of us PI girls, too! We love you!
PI Girls, how do you handle the storms of life? Do you have any advice you would like to add to help inspire someone else to not grow weary in the wilderness of suffering?