â€œThose whose lives have had the deepest spiritual impact in the world are those who have suffered. In God’s mysterious providence, the Cross and the crown, suffering and glory, are linked.â€ â€“ Elisabeth Elliot from The Path of Loneliness
Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (HCSB)
I don’t like reading the passages (and there are a bunch of them!) that tell me that there will be suffering and pain and sorrow in this world. I’d rather read that because I am God’s child â€“ all will be good, no problems. The testimonies of the writers of the Bible tell me that it will be â€œgoodâ€ in spite of the suffering of this world.
Out of suffering comes a refining that brings me holiness. There is comfort in the fellowship of Jesus’ suffering. There is salvation, strength, even endurance.
It is hard while in the middle of the trial to take a step back and see the opportunity to â€œgive upâ€ the trial, giving it to Jesus. Like â€œbroken bread and poured out wineâ€, we become a message of hope and comfort to a lonely and suffering people. How?
In the trial, I allow God to infuse me, through His Holy Spirit, with words of truth. God is for me. It isn’t a maybe statement. God is for me. He didn’t used to be for me. It is now. Today. At this moment. I don’t have to wait in line and beg.
God is for me. From the moment that I say, â€œYes, LORD, I need You!â€ He is in my life and lives there. He wants me to be better in all ways that are best for me. When I am suffering, He has the strength I need. The peace I need. The comfort I need. The wisdom I need. The shoulder I need, whenever I need it.
See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. Â Â Â Â Isaiah 49:16 (NLT)
God has a tattoo on His hand and it is my name. It cannot be removed. He put it there. If I hear a voice tell me that I am all alone or that God doesn’t care and has left me â€“ THAT IS A LIE! And it is not God speaking to me.
When the trials come, step closer to God. Lean forward and listen closer. Spend more time in worship. Spend more time reading or listening to God’s Word. Spend more time just talking to Him. Write it down in a journal. It’s a great way to go back and see what God has done in your life. Giving the future over to God may be a point of conflict for me because I want to be in control. But the future, like control, was never really mine. It has always belonged to God.
I’m Trading My Sorrows by Darrell Evans