Adversity / Faith / Hope

Stuff Happens: Encouragement in Times of Suffering

Sun Through Clouds Over City

This post article is also posted in the Gospel Blog by FEBC

Stuff happens. Bad things happen to good people. Hopes are disappointed. Trust is betrayed. Innocent people are blamed for others evil work. Is this the way it’s supposed to be? Why does God let it happen? Why doesn’t he stop it, do something about it? Aren’t we supposed to be blessed when we follow Him?

Behold, I send you out as sheep among wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to councils, and in their synagogues they will scourge you.”  (Matt. 10:16-17)

Well, that’s not very encouraging is it?  The Bible basically tells us trouble’s on the way.

That’s Where Faith Comes In

We may never know why some things happen. It’s not in our power, as human beings, to know some things, but the Lord said He has toward us, “thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. Maybe it’s to test us or to make us stronger, maybe it’s so that we can help someone else down the road, maybe it’s so that we can bring glory to God or a lost soul to the Lord. We may never know the reason. That’s where faith comes in. “How can I have faith when this is happening to me?” you may ask. Well, let me ask you a question: how can you not? If you’re drowning in the middle of the ocean, would you cast away your life preserver? If you’re hanging off the side of a cliff, would you cut away your safety lines? If you’re lost and stumbling around in the pitch blackness, would you throw away your light? When trials come into our lives and we feel like we’re freefalling with no hope of survival, the Lord is holding out His hand to us. With our human eyes we can’t see it, but it’s there and faith will reach out to take it.

Praise Him in the Storm

Beloved, don’t be astonished at the fiery trial which has come upon you, to test you, as though a strange thing happened to you. But because you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, rejoice; that at the revelation of his glory you also may rejoice with exceeding joy. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed; because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. On their part he is blasphemed, but on your part he is glorified.” (1 Peter 4:12-14)

Would you believe that the Bible actually tells us to rejoice in our sufferings? Really? What kind of advice is that? How can we rejoice when bad things are happening to us? Well, let’s think about this for a minute. What would you rather do: whine and pout and cry your eyes out in misery or focus on the good things and praising God? When you’re being besieged by trouble, take a page out of Silas and Paul’s playbook and try to focus your camera lens past your present difficulties. When Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown in jail, what do you think they did? Sit in a corner crying and rocking back and forth? Fall down on the ground and throw a temper tantrum? Think again.

But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God” (Acts 16:25)

What if we did the same when trouble came our way? Maybe, just maybe, our troubles wouldn’t seem so bad. And if we think about what Jesus did for us, the horrible death He suffered on the cross to save us from our sins, maybe our troubles wouldn’t seem nearly so big.

Beauty from Ashes

Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; through whom we also have our access by faith into this grace in which we stand. We rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only this, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope: and hope doesn’t disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:1-5)

So, in fact, our sufferings can actually make us stronger and better people—that is—if we let them.

However, sometimes it may seem that your troubles will never end. They say when it rains it pours and sometimes it may feel like you’re being swept away by a flash flood, but, as a Christian, you can rest assured that your trouble will not last forever.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which will be revealed toward us.” (Romans 8:18)

So when you’re feeling oppressed by earthly troubles, remember Jesus’ words.

In the world you have oppression; but cheer up!  I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Lord, when trouble comes our way,

Let us take the hand you hold out to us,

Let us remember what you’ve done for us,

And remember that after the night will come the day.

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2 thoughts on “Stuff Happens: Encouragement in Times of Suffering

  1. This is so good Whitney! “Stuff” really does happen in our lives and when it does it’s so important to remember that we will always find our victory and strength to go on in Christ alone!

    • Thank you. Yes, you’re right. When we try tackle the storms of life by ourselves, they can drag us down and make us feel as if we’re sinking down into the ocean, but, like Peter in Matthew 14, all we have to do is call out “Lord, save me!” and He will stretch out His hand to save us.

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