Sometimes life can be hard. God has certainly allowed my family seasons of suffering that have lingered on and on. David and I, have recently walked through 5 of the hardest years of our married life! Covering areas of our kids, our health, our aging parent’s health and the big kicker… watching all our savings drain away even to the point of threatened financial disaster. At times it has seemed too much. When we’d finally come up for air, after one long event, something new would hit. Imaginary images of trying to surf come to mind! Simply exhausting… and yet, if you’d ask us, we’d say we’ve never felt closer to the Lord -so held… in the midst of the storm.
Why all the drama then? What did we do to deserve such things? You begin to ponder and wonder and try to figure it out. It’s human to want to know “why?”. Thankfully all our questioning led us to seek Him (daily) and in His Word we (I) find great comfort! I’ve found out God wants me to focus on “what?” instead: What is He doing through this? What does He want me/us to learn? What can I get out of this? I can confidently tell you there can be a positive outcome. It won’t be for nothing, God can use it! We (for instance) have seen amazing changes: In ourselves, within our family, especially in the hearts of our children. God has not wasted one single experience or heart-ache. I’m simply dumbfounded by what suffering can/has produced. Spirit-fruit, the God grown kind.
I really love how The Message says it in Hebrews 12: 10-11 “My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child He loves that He disciplines; the child He embraces, He also corrects. God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training…” I feel all full-up with training at this point, but I know God will not stop until He’s seen us to completion (Philippians 1:6). I look around today and see that He isn’t finished with us yet.
Yes, some storms come to us as believers because we live in a fallen world… and some as consequences of our disobedience, but no matter how sufferings appear they can be used for our training if we believe He truly does work EVERYTHING together for our good (Romans 8:28), and if we will ask the question “what can I learn here?” and if we will wait patiently to see His will fulfilled (Psalm 40). He will not disappoint us, for He withholds no good thing from those He’s called blameless (Psalm 84:11 and Romans 8:30)!
We are in this together as brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray for all those who visit and read my blog. Be encouraged, God is faithful! And as the man on the radio this morning said, “God’s past faithfulness deserves our present trust.” Grace to you, Anna