One of the dangers of going through periods of distress, hurt, and heartache is that we'll begin to doubt God's goodness, and to think that He doesn't care. Nothing could be further from the truth. And this is one of the reasons why it's essential for us to spend regular time in God's Word. In times of turmoil, we can feel that our situation is hopeless, and the promises of God can give us hope during those times like nothing else can. That's why the psalmist wrote, "Never forget Your promises to me Your servant, for they are my only hope. They give me strength in all my troubles; how they refresh and revive me!" (Psalm 119:49-50 TLB) The Bible is filled with divine promises of strength, comfort, peace, joy, restoration, healing, wisdom, provision, and everything we need to live the abundant life that Jesus died for us to have. (John 10:10) But they are not automatic; it's up to us to lay hold of them by faith. When we are in dire circumstances, laying claim to the promises of God can make the difference between joy and grief, provision and lack, strength and weakness, health and sickness, and even life and death.
Our God has some wonderful promises in His Word that speak specifically about our suffering, and how He really feels about it. "In all their suffering He also suffered, and He personally rescued them. In His love and mercy, He redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years." (Isaiah 63:9 NLT) God hurts when we hurt. Remember Jesus weeping when He saw Lazarus' family grieving? (John 11:35) The Bible clearly states that our Savior sympathizes with our weaknesses. (Hebrews 4:15) But He doesn't stop there. As the prophet Isaiah says, He personally rescues us, lifts us up, and even carries us in times of hardship and pain.
When God allows believers to experience adversity, it's because He has a good purpose for it, and in the long run, it will benefit us somehow. Contrary to what the enemy would have us believe, God does not enjoy hurting His children, and He never forsakes us. Jeremiah wrote: "For the Lord does not abandon anyone forever. Though He brings grief, He also shows compassion according to the greatness of His unfailing love. For He does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow." (Lamentations 3:31-33 NLT) Just as God allows pain to enter our lives, He sends healing and restoration. Is there anything you and I can do to help this process along? Yes, there is. We can cooperate with God by earnestly seeking Him in prayer and the study of His Word on a regular, consistent basis. And we can ask Him to speak to our hearts, and to help us learn whatever lessons He has for us in our struggles. Scripture says, "But those who learn from their suffering, God delivers from their suffering." (Job 36:15 MSG) Because of God's mercy, and His Spirit dwelling in His faithful followers, you and I don't have to keep making the same mistakes over and over again, as people of the world do. As we rely on God's power and wisdom, we can be the kind of overcomers who fulfill their God-given purpose and potential. And who make an eternal difference in this world for Christ.
If you love God with all your heart, you have His promise that He will cause your hard times to profit you somehow. (Romans 8:28) When I am hurting so badly that I can hardly pray, I often say, "Lord, show me the good in all this. Help me to see it clearly in ways that will fill me with a fresh sense of hope and encourage my heart." Even if I have to wait a while for my answer, God always consoles me with a greater sense of His presence. If you are in a painful place today, take these words of mine to heart, and let the Lord reveal to you the treasure in your trial.
Prayer: Lord, when I am suffering in any way, help me to see You as the good, loving, and caring God that You are. Deliver me from my doubts and fears, and work in my heart and mind so that I can trust You deeply from now on. Help me to learn from my suffering, so that I don't repeat my mistakes and miss out on the glorious plans You have for my life. Show me the good in every hardship and heartache that comes my way, and help me to dwell on that. Thank You that as I cooperate with You in times of trouble, I will come out of my trials even better than before!
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