It is so easy to look at our lives and only see the pain and misery. Friends, I have been there many times. I’ve endured the misery of the long, lonely nights and have lain awake most of the night in so much pain that I couldn’t sleep. I’ve endured the physical pain as well as the emotional pain.
During the painful moments, however, God taught me many things. First, He taught me to depend on Him and His strength. I couldn’t do it alone, so I needed my Lord. My weaknesses made me desire His strength.
Second, He taught me to use my pain to humble my heart so I could pray. I remember one morning falling as I stepped out of bed. Lying on my face, I learned to use my tears as prayers. I’m so thankful that God understands our tears. When we turn our heartaches over to Him and trust Him to care for them, our burdens lighten because God carries them for us.
Thirdly, He taught me that my life should never be about me. I remember thinking if I can learn to overcome this, I can teach others how to overcome it. During my painful years, God blessed me to write five books and share my story with thousands of people on various stages and platforms. MY PAIN DIDN’T SEEM AS BAD when I focused on my purpose and helping others. We can’t truly walk with those who feel broken if we have never been there ourselves.
Lastly, when I learned the lesson the pain was there to teach me, God blessed me to overcome it. While our struggles don’t always go away, God can teach us how to overcome them. Now, when I’m going through a particular struggle, I ask God to help me grow through what I am going through. I know that all my trials and tribulations are for my benefit. God handpicks each trial specifically to advance us in our lives. Our trials are not meant to destroy us but to strengthen us.
During the battle, we have two choices: either A) draw closer to God and grow through our hardships or B) get mad at God and pull away from Him. When we draw closer to God, He will draw closer to us.
I love these verses on suffering.
1 Peter 4:12-19 (KJV)
12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.
16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.