Suffering isn’t my favorite thing. It comes in different packages, and my family has had our share. Yours, too?

Many of us understand all too well David’s cry: “Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul….I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me” (Psalm 69:1-2).

My translation: I’m up to my neck, trying to keep my head above water!

I don’t know why God allows people who love him to experience suffering. But I’m certain he has a purpose for everything he allows to touch our lives.

Years ago, reading Hannah Whitall Smith’s The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, I found a perspective that changed my life. “Everything comes to us from the hand of God; there are no second causes.”

I can’t explain it, and I certainly don’t want to argue the point. All I know is, if God isn’t in total control, who is?

What I know about suffering:

The Bible convinces me God does everything with purpose. While studying I make notes when I come across the term so that. God did this…so that. Purpose!

Don’t you think we can withstand anything if we know God has a purpose?

Our grief is not having a clue what he’s doing. A friend said, “I know God has a purpose, but it’s killing me!”

This verse satisfies me in places where I see no purpose: “…you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised” (Hebrews 10:36 Amplified).

Did you notice so that?

In baffling circumstances when I struggle to make sense of what’s going on, I remind myself God has a purpose—if nothing else, to develop patience and endurance, so that I may accomplish his will and enjoy his promises to the full.

I don’t have to see God’s purpose to know he has a purpose.

And I can be certain he never wastes an experience.

I don't have to see God’s purpose to know he has a purpose. Click To Tweet

Hard places are just that…hard. But I’ve learned God is interested in more than our comfort. He wants our lives to reflect his glory.

Uncomfortable circumstances give us a great opportunity to reflect his character.

He may put us in a place we don’t understand and give little or no explanation. He never let Job in on the plan when he allowed Satan to unleash everything he had to blow him off the map. Job held fast and said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him…” (Job 13:15).

He declared with confidence, “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).

If you’re in a hard place by divine design, hold fast. Trust God to show himself strong.

“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him…” (2 Chronicles 16:9).

“Sometimes I think God thinks I’m stronger than I really am,” someone said.

Truth: I will never be stronger than I am right now because God is my strength and he won’t be stronger tomorrow.

I will never be stronger than I am right now because God is my strength and he won’t be stronger… Click To Tweet

We have an enemy who colors with black crayons, making our circumstances look dismal. In every circumstance he has a strategy—to convince us God is not good.

Truth: God is good. Our circumstances don’t alter that fact.

We may never, this side of heaven, understand the purpose, but believing God has a purpose enables us to trust him in suffering, no matter what.

That’s the fifth key to dispensing the sweet fragrance of Christ.

Are you acquainted with suffering? In the comment box please share how God has carried you through hard places. And encourage your friends by sharing this post.

© Dianne Barker 2018

 

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