I knew there was trouble when I heard a loud crash and then howling coming from the living room. When I got there, I found Ian, our then two year old, lying on the floor with blood gushing from a gaping hole in his fat little cheek and a broken lamp laying beside him. The exuberance with which he had begun his lap around the house had ended tragically. After assessing the situation, my husband rushed Ian to the emergency room. Ian needed stitches and because he was so young, the nurses strapped his little body to a papoose board and covered all of his face except his mouth with a cloth so the doctor could stitch his cheek without his toddler intervention. As my husband stood next to him, Ian cried out, “I’m not liking this! Daddy, why are you letting them do this to me?” It was almost more than my husband could bear, but Ian had to endure the pain for the repair and, ultimately, the healing to take place.
I’ve often thought of Ian’s pitiful cry as life has also presented me with situations that have been painful. Often I have found myself crying out to my Heavenly Father, “I’m not liking this. Why are You letting this happen to me?” Maybe you’ve found yourself doing the same.
Life is routinely difficult and leaves us feeling overwhelmed. For some, it may be marital conflict; for others, a rebellious child, health issues, problems with in-laws, or any number of stressful situations. Like Ian, you may be feeling as though God is uninvolved. But He is keenly aware of the pain in our lives. Psalm 56:8 tells us He even keeps track of our tears. We are never out of His care. While He hates it when we are hurting, He knows that it is those very situations that lead us to complete and utter dependence upon Him.
The challenge for us is to live purposefully during these times and not allow suffering to paralyze us from living for Him. How do we do this? By preparing when things are good. By being in the Word, knowing God’s character and what the Bible tells us about suffering.
Jesus warned that in this life we will have trouble and suffering but He also gives us the encouragement that He has already overcome. Jesus says this in John 16:33, “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” We are also reminded of this in James 1:2-4 where we read that trials produce spiritual maturity in our lives. They help make us more like Christ and that is our ultimate purpose.
Russian novelist, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, having spent 12 years in Russian gulag, later wrote these words:
“Bless you prison, bless you for being in my life. For there, lying on the rotting prison floor I came to realize that the object of life is not prosperity as we have been told, but rather the maturing of the human soul.”
While we may never get to the point of liking suffering, we should remember that God uses our trials to mature us, if we will only let Him.
Blessings as you press on through the pain,
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