Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12
So the question always pops up from believers and non-believers alike. It goes something like:
- “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
- “Why do Christians suffer?”
- “If there is a God why does he allow tragedy?”
I find myself asking a more personal question, Why do I have to suffer so much? I mean really. Why do I keep getting drug through the mud?
The other day my husband said, “I’m just ready for 2013 to be over.” We have been berated with personal struggles, ministry struggles, death, loss and more loss. I feel like I have grown in my ability to let the Spirit lead my life. I enter decisions more prayerfully. I have surrendered my circumstances to Him. SO… why am I still suffering?
But as I sit and grieve all the loss I am still learning. While I struggle with all the trials of marriage, parenting, grief, adoption, child-birth, hormones and exhaustion there are more things being shaped in me. God is showing me truth.
He didn’t plan this.
God created me for beauty. He created me for joy. He created me in his image to have garden fellowship with him. He created me for good.
Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good! Gen. 1:31
Sin wrecked it.
It started with Eve and spread to humanity. I am in hostile territory now. The devil is my enemy and he is warring against me.
And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. Gen.3:15
Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus. Rev. 12:17
Sometimes I feel alone.
Sometimes I feel abandoned by God. Sometimes I wonder where he is. I wonder why he has left me. I wonder when he is coming for me. But I find comfort in the fact that even greats like King David and Lord Jesus felt alone too.
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Ps. 22:1
My suffering has purpose.
It proves my faith. I could claim all the faith in the world, but if was wasn’t real, if it wasn’t tested, it would mean nothing.
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. 1 Pet. 1:6-7
It allows me to feel other people’s pain and offer comfort. How could I minister to lost and hurting souls if I never walked in their shoes? How could I pass on God’s mercy if I never experienced it myself? How could I point others to the remedy if I had never been healed?
Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. 2 Cor. 1:6
It molds be into a spiritual being that looks more and more like Jesus every day. I remember some words Jesus spoke to the original twelve so long ago, “The servant is not greater than the master.” If ever I thought I was above suffering, I never really understood what it meant to follow Jesus.
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Phil. 3:10-11
God is actively redeeming.
Satan may attack. He may throw darts. He may weave lies. He may infiltrate my home. He made sow doubt and fear. But there is a greater truth I will bank on today. God did something great in the life of his servant Joseph and I believe he still does great things for his servants.
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. Gen. 50:20
As the suffering continues in my camp I am reminded of the words that Jesus quoted as he opened his ministry. Of all the ancient texts he could have quoted he went to Isaiah 61. I believe in the time of the Lord’s favor.
The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”
He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!” Luke 4:17-21