Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. Psalm 126:5-6
Suffering is part of God’s way of making us more and more like Christ. God guarantees us that we as disciples of Christ WILL have suffering in this world and that He uses it to strengthen us. It is a refiner’s fire. The heat from the trials we face bring all the impurities in our souls up to the surface where He can skim it off and make our faith more mature and more pure. It is only through painful times that we really learn to trust Him and put all of our faith in Him.
- October 12, 2008 around 9:30pm – I learned something that turned my entire world upside down and sent me reeling in shock. I stayed on my face before God for 3 days. I could barely eat. I could not function at work. All I could do was cry and weep and beg God to heal.. I had never hurt so much.
It was one of the most painful experiences of my life. I am not at liberty to share any details, I hope you can understand.
But God was there. He was there for me when no one else could be. He was there for me when everyone else failed me. And He took that dark moment and used it to show me that I was not the godly woman He wanted me to be – even though I thought I had been. It was that dark moment that got me looking for His answers and got me to begin to look at myself to see if there was some kind of problem with me.
Two months later, I found “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs in the church book store. And my journey to become a godly wife really began in December of 2008 when God showed me my own mountain of sin and I truly saw it for the first time ever. I finally had to acknowledge that I was a wretched sinner. Me – April Cassidy, desperately needed the forgiveness, grace and blood of Jesus. The amount of my sin was staggering. I had no idea what to do or where to start. I was in total shock and disbelief. Again, I cried for three days. I wanted to go live in a cave and never talk to another human the rest of my life. I repented to God and to Greg over and over and over.
All I knew was – I wanted God – I NEEDED Him. I wanted to do this HIS way. I wanted Him to be in charge now, not me. I knew I had to cling to Jesus. I knew that He was the only Rock in my world. I knew I had to get rid of my old ways and rebuild on His Word alone – whatever that would mean. How could I have been so blind? How could this be happening? Where on earth do I go from here? “Show me, Lord! I’ll do it! Whatever You want from me – I will obey!”
There were many times of weeping and tears as God showed me more and more layers of my pride and sin. Seeing our own sin is excruciatingly painful. Repenting and shoveling all the filth out takes a LONG time sometimes. I didn’t care – I just wanted it all out of my soul. I wanted God to be in charge and I didn’t want my own foolish ways anymore! No matter what the cost! Dying to self goes completely against everything in my sinful nature. It is truly a battle.
There are so many kinds of suffering.
- We suffer because of sin being in the world in general – diseases, natural disasters, tragedies
- We suffer sometimes because of our own poor choices or others’ poor choices.
- We suffer because of the consequences of our own sin at times – lost relationships, certain illnesses (if we are engaging in high risk behaviors or not taking good care of our bodies, idolizing food, thinness, beauty, etc.), emotional/spiritual isolation from God when we cherish sin in our hearts.
- We suffer because of other people’s sin around us – those in our family, especially our parents as we were growing up, our siblings and now our husbands and children, friends, etc.
- We suffer sometimes for reasons we won’t know – the book of Job shows us that there are things going on in heaven we have no clue about. Satan may be targeting us to try to prove God wrong, and God may be saying that He knows our faith in Him will stand any test.
- We suffer sometimes because we are persecuted for our faith in Christ.
- We suffer sometimes because God’s wrath is on our nation if our nation has been sinning greatly against God.
- We suffer sometimes so that God will ultimately be glorified.
All suffering can be used by God for blessing in His time. What an incredible promise! He promises to use suffering to refine our faith, to make us more like Christ, to discipline and strengthen and mature us, to make us more fruitful for His kingdom, to bless other people in the future, for our ultimate good and for His ultimate glory. In God’s economy – suffering is the path to His blessings. We can expect suffering. And we can be blessed by it if we seek to learn all He has for us in each trial – how I pray we won’t waste any of our trials, but absorb and embrace all that God desires to teach us in those painful times. Those are the times we learn and grow the most!
For some of you, the trials have come in the form of:
- a miscarriage
- a death of a child, close friend, family member or your husband
- financial loss
- job loss
- addictions in the family
- severe sin issues
- a husband away fighting in a war
- medical problems
- natural disaster
- pornography addiction
- the loss of your home and possessions
- betrayal of a friend
- being falsely accused of something and having your reputation destroyed
From a worldly perspective, these things are awful! It doesn’t seem possible for there to be any good in them. Thankfully, our God is ABLE!!!!! He is an expert at making beauty from ashes and bringing joy from mourning. He knows how to restore the years the locusts have eaten. He knows how to make all things work together for the ultimate good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
- It’s time to think about this – Is God able to help you with your pain?
- What promises does God give to you, if you are His daughter in Christ, about how He can handle your pain?
- Read God’s promises to be with you, to help you, to strengthen you – and listen. Listen intently and quietly. What is He speaking to your heart today?
What helped me the most was learning about God’s sovereignty and discovering that He was in charge NOT ME! What a freeing thing to discover! He took the weight of the world off of my shoulders as I began to see how powerful, huge, mighty and sovereign He is and how teeny tiny and wimpy I am.
This week – try looking up the words suffering, trials and hardships and use a concordance or search them in an online Bible to see all the things God says and the promises He gives about suffering.
http://www.openbible.info/topics/suffering (This is a link to a number of verses about suffering)
I Peter is all about the suffering church.
James 1 is about suffering and God refining our faith, counting trials as joy.
Philippians has much to say about suffering.
Jesus was the “Suffering Servant.” (Isaiah 53)
What stands out to you today?
What pain are you carrying that you could lay at the feet of Jesus?
Let others pray for you if you need encouragement – leave us a comment. 🙂