I was raised in the church as a little girl and I renewed my relationship with God over 4 years ago after deciding to go my own way for many years. If you are anything like me, you thought that once you completely surrendered your life to Christ that all the suffering would end. Unfortunately, suffering is a part of life and it is also a part of the Christian’s life. The difference is that once we enter a new life with Christ, our suffering takes on a new meaning. Our ability to understand the spiritual truths concerning testing and hardship is vital to our continued spiritual growth and development.
I want to share with you four spiritual truths that have helped me to overcome many difficult and trying times in my life:
1.) Suffering is temporary. “In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So, after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation” (1 Peter 5:10). While you are in your season of suffering, it seems to feel as though it will last forever. It’s easy to get caught up in the “fact” that you are experiencing hard times to neglect God’s truth. The truth is that He has called you to share in His eternal glory because He loves you and your suffering is only temporary. Focus more on what’s waiting for you on the other side of suffering: restoration, support, strength, and stability. If you rejoice in the truth of God’s eternal word, it will ease the pain of what you are currently experiencing. Remember it’s only temporary!
2.) Your suffering does not define you. “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are” (Romans 8:18-19). Many times, when we experience very difficult or trying times in our lives, we allow our temporary hardships to define us. You are not the events that have transpired in your life. God has yet to reveal the fullness of who you are and His Word confirms that what you are currently facing is nothing compared to what He has in store for you.
3.) Suffering produces fruit. “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So, let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing” (James 1:2-4). The Word of God tells us to consider the troubles and hardships we face in life as an opportunity for great joy.
4.) Suffering opens the door to God’s grace. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So, now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9). When you are facing situations that just seem to suck the very life out of you, the door to grace is wide open.
We are to embrace God’s grace. When you are weak, God is waiting to stand up on your behalf. Your job is to step back and allow Him to do just that. Allow the power of God to work through you and carry you through hard times.
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