Do you ever have one of THOSE weeks? But then one of those weeks turns into several weeks, maybe even months or periods of life. I have.
Sometimes these weeks or periods of life come because we caused them. Sometimes, they come out of the blue, and there’s nothing we can do but pray that the end of suffering is near.
I don’t know about you, but when times like these come, because of my sinful nature, my knee-jerk reaction is to ask, “Why God?” When I see faithful servants of the Lord suffering, I can’t help but wonder why He didn’t protect them from this pain, suffering or struggle of some sort.
We see devastation daily in the news. There are shootings, sickness and catastrophes of all types everywhere. These burdens, if not our own, at least weigh heavy on our shoulders because as Christians we are supposed to have sympathy, compassion and grace toward our hurting world.
I know the enemy takes joy in preying on God’s people. I also know that even Jesus was tested by the enemy, specifically in the wilderness after fasting from food for 40 days and 40 nights. Each time the Devil tempted, Jesus answered with “It is written…”
I am not alone in my troubled times. This morning as I sat in our weekly staff meeting, almost every one of my coworkers had an urgent prayer request. My boss then shared a passage of Scripture which was exactly what I needed to hear as I internally asked, “Why God?”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, “…But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. So because of Christ, I am pleased in weakness, in insults, in catastrophes, in persecutions, and in pressures. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Does the Lord ever immediately answer a question you have like that? I was genuinely taken back. I had no idea the Lord would speak to me through my boss who does a small devotional ahead of each Monday morning staff meeting.
Additionally, I listened to a Jen Wilkin podcast on the book of Joshua on the way to work this morning in which Wilkin says (in my paraphrased version of course) that we ask for the Lord to speak to us in so many ways, whether that be on a billboard as we drive to work, or in song lyrics, when the Lord has provided His word as a constant form of communication between us and Him. Why isn’t that good enough?
I then started to think about all the times in the Bible that He reminds us to take joy in times of trial “Rejoice in hope, be patient in affliction be persistent in prayer,” (Rom. 12:12); and just before that reminder, He says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18).
And one of my favorite verses that I sometimes forget when I’m going through particularly tough times, but He always takes time to remind me, “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’ The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ—seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him” (Rom. 8:15-17).
I MEAN, CAN I GET AN AMEN?? He speaks these truths all throughout Scripture, but if we don’t go to the Word, we can’t find solace in Him or His promises.
I say all of this to point out a few things.
1. It’s imperative that we be in His word at all times, especially in times of need and trouble.
2. Surround yourself with people who speak His truth into your life. God speaks to us through His word, but he also uses those around us, too.
3. Take heart because, “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.” (John 16:33)