What word comes to mind when you reflect upon suffering, trials, storms, pain, difficulties, and struggles? Most likely, the word “good” seems a bit out of place to describe such life challenges. Yet, we see in the life of Job that although he experienced tremendous pain and loss in his life at the hand of the enemy, God allowed it to happen and used it for good so that Job would know the Lord more deeply.
The “double for his trouble”(that Job received double the material blessings for his suffering) teaching that you hear so often in the prosperity gospel message tries to take the focus off the entire point of the book of Job that reveals to us the beautiful attribute of God’s sovereignty over all things that happens in our world, including pain and suffering. When we try to give more power to Satan than we should, we infer that he “got one passed God” like God was completely unaware it was going to happen. The fact of the matter is that God allows suffering and pain to come into our life for a reason.
God will use all things to conform us to the image of Christ and often in the life of the believer, that includes pain and suffering. In times of suffering, we can pray for God’s mercy to come and cry out for His help in time of trouble, yes, but we must remember Jesus promised that “in this life, there will be trouble” (John 16:33). Yet, we know that He overcame the world for us, and we will one day taste of that victory in full when we meet Him face to face!
The Apostle Paul in the book of Romans reminds us that even in the midst of our suffering, we can keep our mind set upon the future glory that awaits us in heaven one day:
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”(Romans 8:18, ESV)
That is why we must keep our eyes fixed upon the hope of eternity and not on this life. And that is why faith in God is so important because it is the rock on which we stand when trials and the storms of life come because they will. We must remember that our faith in Him means that because of the cross, we are forgiven and now we can have the hope that He never leaves our side and walks with us through the valley and the mountain top experiences, and we have the ultimate hope that there is a glorious eternal life that awaits us in Christ Jesus. That is our anchor…the hope of eternity. There is a day that awaits believers where all pain and suffering will cease. But until then, we continue to declare “And if not…He is still good” and trust our life in His sovereign hands no matter what comes our way and know that He is working all things for our good because we love Him and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28).
Please help me find Your mercy and goodness when trials and the storms of life come my way. If I am prone to grumble and complain, may the Holy Spirit convict my heart quickly and remind me to be thankful for Your promise of eternity because of the cross. May I look for opportunities to comfort those around me who are suffering as well, so we can help hold each other up. We live in a fallen world, and although we cannot escape suffering, we know that heaven is our home and that the crown of life awaits those who stand firm in the faith, trusting that you have overcome the world and there is no reason to fear. Help me see the good that will come out of me walking through every dark trial. I give You praise and thanksgiving that You will never leave me alone to walk through suffering by myself. In Jesus’ name, Amen.