The Purpose in Suffering
Life isn’t easy. Each of us have gone through some sort of trial, endured some kind of loss, experienced being in need, or wondered if your sick loved one would still be with you tomorrow. Sometimes it feels like the suffering, the pain, the heartache, the uncertainty of the future will never end. Sometimes it seems like every day brings an additional cross to bear, a new battle to fight, something else to worry about, another event that adds to the suffering and pain you feel. It can be very easy to give in to the temptation to despair, to feel self pity, to get frustrated and angry at those you believe are the cause of your suffering. It’s easy to give in to hopelessness, feeling nothing good could ever come of this and things will never get better. It can be easy even to doubt God’s goodness, sovereignty, or love for you. Having experienced some hardships of my own though, I have found that God was manifesting His love and goodness to me by allowing me to go through those trials. I have found that God has used even the hardest of trials to produce good in my life. I have received many blessings through suffering.
On Asking God “Why?”
I am sure there are some out there who would disagree with what I am about to say, but I believe it is okay to ask God “Why?” “Why am I going through this trial? Why must I suffer in this way? Why did my loved one die? Why am I so sick and why isn’t there a cure?” Maybe it sounds like asking these questions is to questions God’s goodness, love, and sovereignty, but I think there is a big difference. Simply asking “why?” is not the same as questioning God’s sovereignty. If it were wrong to ask God “why,” Jesus would not have done it when he hung upon the cross: “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) You can either ask a question, doubting the one you are questioning, or you can ask a question to better understand the one you are questioning. Jesus didn’t doubt His Father’s plan. He was asking the purpose for why God had forsaken Him- He was forsaken that we might be forgiven. What a great purpose for the suffering and abandonment Jesus endured. I encourage you to ask God why, not doubting him, but seeking wisdom about the purpose for your trial. You might not get an answer right away, you might not ever get a direct answer, but God tells us that if we seek wisdom, He will give it. I have asked God why, and He has given me answers. They weren’t the direct answers that I wanted but they helped me understand some of the reasons why which was great encouragement and strength to my soul. As time has gone on, I have seen direct reasons for why some things happened. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5) Ask God to give you wisdom about what is happening in your life. We already know that God uses everything for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28), so ask God how you can learn and grow from the trials and suffering in your life. Here are some of the things I have learned, I hope they will be an encouragement to you.
Lessons from the Wilderness
I was saved during a time when I was going through some very difficult trials. As an unbeliever, I was questioning and doubting God. After I was saved, God began to teach me how to have a more Christlike attitude about it- seeking to understand the purpose behind the trials. As I was reading my Bible one day, I came to Deuteronomy chapter eight and learned much about suffering, trials, and unfulfilled desires (speaking of biblical desires God gives, not worldly desires such as fame or wealth). This chapter talks about why God led Israel through the wilderness for 40 years, and much of it can be applied to us.
- The Consequence of Sin/ God’s Discipline
We know that the main reason why Israel was led into the wilderness was because of their sin. (See Numbers 14:1-35) They didn’t believe the good report of the land and they didn’t believe that God would go with them to conquer their enemies, so they rebelled against God. They feared the mighty people who were in the land, and they were “faithless.” (Numbers 14:33) As the consequence for their sin, they were not allowed to enter the promised land and their children had to wander in the wilderness.
I am certainly not saying that every trial or hardship is because of sin- Job’s suffering and Paul’s thorn in the flesh prove this. There also might be more than one reason for your suffering. There are many possible reasons and this is merely one of them and one you may need to prayerfully consider. It is always a good thing to examine your life for sin and seek forgiveness from God regardless of whether or not you are suffering or things are going well. Maybe God will use this trial to bring certain sins to your attention. Don’t reject this possibility by refusing to examine yourself. There are more examples in Scripture of followers of God who suffered because of their sin.
David coveted another man’s wife, committed adultery with her, then murdered her husband when he found out she was pregnant. As the consequence for his sin, this woman gave birth to a son who died shortly after birth. David loved the child very much and it was a very hard trial for him to endure but it was the consequence of his sin. (2 Samuel 11-12)
Solomon turned away from following God and the kingdom of Israel was taken from him. (1 Kings 11)
Zechariah didn’t believe Gabriel when he told him his wife would give birth to a son and he couldn’t speak until John was born. (Luke 1:18-22)
There are other examples, but this is sufficient for now. Don’t doubt God’s love for you if you are enduring God’s discipline for sin you committed and do not hate his discipline. It is because God loves us that he disciplines us so that we might see our sin, repent, and turn back to Him.
“Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you.” (Deuteronomy 8:5)
“My son, do not despise the LORD’S discipline or be weary of His reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom He loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” (Proverbs 3:11-12)
“And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by Him. For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:5-11)
Discipline hurts in the moment but the outcome of the discipline is righteousness, if you repent. Be like David who, when his sin was brought to his attention, repented and asked forgiveness.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.” (Revelation 3:19)
- To Humble You and Teach You Dependance on Him
“And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that He might humble you… And He humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Take care lest you forget the LORD your God… then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. (Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 11, 14-18)
It is easy, when everything is going well, to “forget God.” We aren’t experiencing suffering for which we need to seek His help. We don’t have a trial for which we need to seek His wisdom. We don’t have a loss which would cause us to cling to Him for strength. We read less. We pray less. We don’t memorize as much Scripture. We don’t sing songs of praise as much. And therefore, we begin relying on ourselves, our own strength and our own wisdom to live this life, to make decisions, to raise our children. We forget how weak and fearful we are. We forget how much we need to be close to Christ in order to fight sin. We forget how ignorant we are and how much we need His wisdom even in small daily things. We forget what God has done for us. We forget the cross and how Christ suffered for us. We forget the sweetness of being in fellowship with Him. In doing this and neglecting to seek God, we are saying “I don’t need God. I don’t need his wisdom. I don’t need His strength. I can do everything by myself.” We forget and begin to trust our own strength, just like Israel did. That is when sin begins to creep into our lives.
“Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12)
A trial, loss, or some type of suffering reminds us of these things. It reminds us of our weakness and how much we need and depend on God. The world pushes individual independence, “I don’t need a man. I don’t need God. I can do this myself.” And that is the lie of the devil. Satan wants us to rely on ourselves so that we will fail and fall into sin, turning away from God. When God led Israel through the wilderness, He caused them to hunger knowing that they didn’t have a way of providing food for themselves. Through this, He showed them how much they must depend on Him. He taught them to depend on Him for food and for strength. He taught them that they couldn’t just live on physical food but must live on the word of God. They had to take God’s word into their hearts. They had to BELIEVE and TRUST that God was going to keep His word. That when they were hungry, He would feed them. When they were thirsty, He would give them drink. When He said He would bring them into the promised land, He would. When He said He would drive out the mighty people of the land, He would. When He said they would be punished for sin, they would.
There is a saying that goes around that God will not give you more than you can handle. I don’t think any of the apostles or disciples (most of whom were beaten and martyred) especially Paul, who was: beaten multiple times and often near to death, stoned and left for dead, shipwrecked and imprisoned, would tell you that was a true and biblical statement. The context of the verse people refer to is talking about sin. (1 Corinthians 10:1-14) This lie has crept into Christian circles and has become even more evident in the popular quotes, “You are enough,” “You can do this,” “You are strong and independent.”
Paul tells us quite the opposite, that we are unable to handle things on our own. That we are weak and frail and can do nothing without Christ.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
Admit your weakness, and depend on God to be your strength.
Did your husband lose his job or is there a great need for which you are unable to pay? Maybe God is trying to teach you not to depend on a job or yourselves to provide for you but that He is the One who provides for you.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:25-34)
Are you weak and tired and just feel like the struggles of life are too much for you? Maybe God is trying to teach you that He is your strength.
“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” (Psalms 27:14)
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
Were you cut off from family or close friends? Maybe God wants you to learn that He is enough for you, that you should always go to Him first. Maybe He wants you to see that you can depend on Him for: love, companionship, friendship, compassion, strength, and wisdom.
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalms 73:25-26)
Do you have an unfulfilled desire (E.g., healing, a husband, children, someone’s salvation)? Maybe God wants you to trust Him with these desires and believe Him when He says He will give you good things in His timing. Or if He withholds them that it is because He loves you and is withholding it for your good. “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Psalms 84:11)
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Like Israel who had to wait to receive the promise land, God “led them through the great and terrifying wilderness… to do them good in the end,” God does us as much good when He says “no” to our desires as when He says “yes”.
One of my favorite quotes on this is by Elisabeth Elliot: “God has promised to supply all our needs. What we don’t have now, we don’t need now.”
Did you lose something important to you, something precious to you? Maybe God wants to teach you that every good thing is from Him. Maybe He wants to remind you to trust Him for and praise Him for the good things you have, rather than idolizing them or claiming them as things you have earned from your own efforts.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…” (James 1:17)
“And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21)
There are many areas where we must learn to be dependent on God. Examine your life for areas where you might be depending on yourself or others rather than God. I have often prayed that God would teach me how much I depend on Him. I encourage you to do the same and this little prayer by John Piper is a good place to start: “Whatever it takes, Lord, keep me desperate for You because I tend to wander when I stop feeling my need for You.”
As Charles Spurgeon has learned, we must learn as well: “I have learned to kiss the wave that casts me against the Rock of Ages.” Let the trial you are going through drive you to the Solid Rock so that you might learn to depend on Him alone for everything.
- To Test our Obedience
“And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that He might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.” (Deuteronomy 8:2)
God requires our obedience and sometimes He leads us through trials in order to test our obedience.
“And Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22)
He doesn’t just want lip service, or people who only listen to Him and follow Him when things are going well. He doesn’t want a people who make a show of their own piety: giving lots of money to the poor, giving the biggest tithe at church, starting organizations, going to or hosting Christian concerts where everyone gets to raise their hands, close their eyes and show how religious they are. When times get hard, these people fall away. They will question and doubt God’s goodness and His love because they do not know Him, and they do not understand how He loves us. They think God’s love means He wants to make us happy, make sure we always have plenty of money, the perfect job, a nice house, the perfect husband or wife and just the right number of children. When they don’t have these things, they think God doesn’t love them and they stop doing their good deeds and going to church. They are like the people Jesus described in the parable of the seeds and the soil.
“As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. ” (Matthew 13:20-21)
God’s love means that He wants what is best for us. God wants us to be conformed more to Christ’s image, to be holy, to love Him more and know more about His love. He sometimes accomplishes this through trials. Knowing that no matter what happens, God loves us and has saved us from our sin so that we might know Him, we don’t have to doubt that He loves us when trials come. We don’t doubt that He wants what is good and best for us. It is because we know these things that we continue obeying in faith even in the midst of suffering.
Job is probably one of the best examples that we have of this. In the story of Job, we see why God allowed Job to suffer and how Job’s faith in God enabled him to continue walking in obedience even through great suffering. God tests us for his glory and as a testimony to a lost and dying world. We see this in Job’s story.
“And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.” (Job 1:8-12)
Here you see the lie of the devil that God’s love is only manifested in material blessings. He presumed Job only obeyed God because of God’s blessings and that if he only took them all away, he would turn from obeying God and would curse Him. But what was Job’s response?
“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” (Job 1:20-22)
Job worshipped God, he praised His name and did not doubt His goodness or love. Satan again said that the reason he still wasn’t cursing God and turning from Him was because he still had his health. God then allowed Job’s health to be taken from him but despite having everything taken from him he still did not doubt God.
“Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” (Job 2:9-10)
We must not only praise God and obey Him when times are good but when we are allowed to suffer (even when it seems as in Job’s case, to be for no reason). Are we willing to serve God even if it means that all earthly blessings are removed from us? Are we willing to praise Him and obey Him through blessing and suffering? No, it isn’t easy. Hebrews 13:12-16 tells us that it is a sacrifice: “So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through His own blood. Therefore let us go to Him outside the camp and bear the reproach He endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
There is so much more than earthly blessings to be had. Everything material and earthly will one day pass away, but the reward to come, the “city to come” is worth so much more. Christ is worth so much more and is deserving of our praise and our obedience, no matter the circumstances. As it said there in Hebrews, we must also suffer as Christ suffered. Let us do so in a way that pleases Him, by praising and obeying Him through it.
“Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26)
“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26-27)
- To Help and Encourage Others
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)
In these verses, we see that sometimes we endure suffering so that we might be able to encourage and comfort others going through the same thing. I have gone through trials in the past and wondering what good could come of it and, as the years have gone by, I have learned the reason for some of them. God allowed me to endure some of those things so that I might be comforted by Him and be able to share that comfort and encouragement to someone going through a similar trial.
As Christians, we are commanded to encourage and comfort one another. Nothing is all about us. In everything we should be thinking about others, considering how we can help others and build them up.
“Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. ” (2 Corinthians 13:11)
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)
“…In humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)
If you are suffering right now, seek God and as He teaches you and comforts you, write things down. If you see someone else suffering, share what you have learned with them. Comfort them with the comfort God has given you, don’t selfishly hoard it and keep it to yourself. Seek out ways to share it with others.
“I would go to the deeps a hundred times to cheer a downcast spirit. It is good for me to have been afflicted, that I might know how to speak a word in season to one that is weary.” -Charles Spurgeon
“…A word spoken in due season, how good is it!” (Proverbs 15:23)
Encouragement In Your Suffering
I want to end this with some words of encouragement and comfort.
Like I said in the beginning, we all endure trials and suffering to one degree or another. As Christians, we are not promised an easy life. We are told that, “…through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22) But we can take comfort in knowing that our suffering is not in vain, there is a purpose for it.
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:6-7)
The testing of our faith is precious, and the purpose is so that it will result in praise and glory and honor. We endure testing and trials so that we might be made more like Christ and so that He would be glorified.
“When I understand that everything happening to me is to make me more Christlike, it resolves a great deal of anxiety.” -A. W. Tozer
God loves us and He uses every circumstance to make us more Christlike. He uses every situation to sanctify us.
“Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I keep your word. It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn Your statutes. (Psalms 119:61, 71)
It is a hard thing to say that “It is good for me to be afflicted,” yet the Psalmist does just that. During affliction, it feels impossible to say or even think that, yet because God has said it, we know it is true. All things are for our good. There are many things that I would not have learned, and I would not know as much of God or be as close to Him if my faith had not been tested, if I had never endured those trials.
“I am not a theologian or a scholar, but I am very aware of the fact that pain is necessary to all of us. In my life, I think I can honestly say that out of the deepest pain has come the strongest conviction of the presence of God.” -Elisabeth Elliot
“Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there. You are placed by God in the most suitable circumstances… Be content with such things as you have, since the Lord has ordered all things for your good. Take up your own daily cross; it is the burden best suited for your shoulder, and will prove most effective to make you perfect in every word and work to the glory of God.” -Charles Spurgeon
In God’s sovereignty and love for us, He has placed us wherever we are, He has allowed us to go through each trial for our good. We can find comfort in knowing that. In Romans 5:3-5 it says we can even rejoice in our sufferings…
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
…because it produces in us endurance, character, and hope. It doesn’t mean that during trials we rejoice “in their present discomforts but in their eventual results.” (Believers Bible Commentary) We can rejoice knowing that through tribulations we will be made more like Christ.
As you go through life and go through different trials, you learn more of how valuable Christ is. How valuable is Christ to you now? Do you love Him more than your job, you children, your wife or husband, your best friend, do you love Him more than your life? We can say that we do with our mouths, but when trials come, do we really live it out? Or do we hold on to our children, our wife, and get angry when God allows things to be taken from us? Do we fight against His will and demand our own be done?
“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:7-11)
We must share His sufferings if we want to be more like Him. We must become like Him in his death. Our will must die.
“When your will is God’s will, you will have your will.” -Charles Spurgeon
We must consider everything we have as worthless compared to knowing Christ more and becoming like Him. Christ is worth giving up everything to gain more of Him. He is worth giving up our lives, our desires, our wants, so that His desires will become our desires. Knowing that Christ is worth it all, don’t give in to feeling sorry for yourself during your suffering.
“Refuse self-pity. Refuse it absolutely. It is a deadly thing with power to destroy you. Turn you thoughts to Christ who has already carried our griefs and sorrows.” -Elisabeth Elliot
And when you begin to feel sorry for yourself and like you can’t go on another step, just look to Christ and take life one moment and one task at a time.
“Sometimes life is so hard you can only do the next thing. Whatever that is just do the next thing. God will meet you there.
From an old English parsonage down by the sea
There came in the twilight a message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
Hath, it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.
And on through the doors the quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration: “Do the next thing.”
Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, and guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrows, child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus, do the next thing
Do it immediately, do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
Leave all results, do the next thing.
Looking for Jesus, ever serener,
Working or suffering, be thy demeanor;
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing.
Then, as He beckons thee, do the next thing.”
Knowing all of these things, we can rest in Christ.
“For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)
We won’t win the war by trying to win it in our own strength. We must trust God to be our strength. Only in resting in Him and quietly trusting Him, will we find strength in Him.
“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” (Psalms 27:14)
Trust God, wait on Him, He will strengthen you.