It is crucial to accurately recognize how God is working in you during times of suffering. There is a greater temptation to see the pain in your life as something happening to you, rather resting in a great God who is doing something in you.
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Acknowledging that God is working in you is more than a courtesy nod or the “wave of the hand.” It is a sobering thought. If you truly understand that God chooses to work in you through suffering, you will not only experience humility in that He would take an interest in you, but at times, it will frighten you. (See Job 23:15)
Ask the “Good” Question
Too often when suffering happens, it’s easy to focus on the wrong question. “Am I going to be safe?” Or, “Is God good?” Everybody understands this dilemma. A hope for self-protection does not have to be wrong, especially if you’re holding the “outcome” of your trouble loosely because the goodness of God has more stabilizing power over you.
The cross of Christ is the most profound testimony of the safe versus good “suffering problem.” Ironically, the Jews saw the cross as a stumbling block, while the Greeks saw the cross as a foolish thing. From God’s perspective, the cross was wisdom and power. (Cf. 1 Corinthians 1:18)
There are times in your life when what is best for you is not necessarily the safest path. In those moments, you must understand and believe that God is good and He is working transformative things in you. Like the baker kneading the dough, your great God is working His desires into you to make you vessels fit for His use.
The Crucible of Suffering
If you are currently in the crucible of suffering, make copious mental notes of what He is doing in you. Remember the pain. Embrace the suffering. By embracing your problems, you are embracing the God who is working the suffering into your life.
And it’s okay to ask the Father to remove the suffering. Christ did this. And He also accepted the Father’s work in His life when He said,
Not my will, but Your will be done.
Jesus submitted to His Father, even though it meant He would die. He believed in the good purposes of the Father. When a person stops resisting the Father’s work in his life and begins to believe in Him, there is hope for change.
Accepting the crucible of suffering in your life does not mean your adversity will pass. It merely says you are going to trust the steady hand of God, who is working for your good, regardless of the consequences.
Believing God does not imply things will turn out the way you had hoped. Christ embraced the will of the Father and later went to the cross where His enemies crucified Him. Joseph embraced God’s will and his life involved one disappointment after another. Job said, “Though he slay me, I will hope in him.” (Job 13:15) Paul believed God and was beheaded. Peter followed his Savior to a crucifixion.
Believing in God during your time of adversity is a desire to know and follow God regardless of where the path may lead. And you can be assured of this one thing: God is good, and though you may not know the outcome of God’s good work in your life, you can rest in the truth that you will be more than satisfied by relinquishing yourself to Him.
If you are going through a hard time, as so many people are, will you reach out for help? If you don’t have that friend or local church, will you reach out to us? We can’t change your problems, but we can walk with you as you walk with the Lord through your issues. We’d love to be that friend to you.
Also published on Medium.