We've all been there: the heartbreak, health problems, loss of a loved one, a bad day, financial worries, fights, physical and emotional pain…
Each situation is unique and in my opinion, the pain they cause cannot be compared to another person's suffering. We must respect how each person interprets the situation; if they are in pain and suffering, it's valid for them to feel that way.
But God says that suffering isn't a bad thing. And I'm not talking about how Hollywood and our culture glorifies and romanticizes suffering. I'm not talking about how it's "in" to have problems, or how love is so often associated with suffering in movies (If you don't believe me, the movie, "Love and Other Drugs" is a great example with many common stereotypes present).
I'm talking about how suffering helps us in various ways:
1. It helps us to reflect, learn, and grow.
John 15:2- He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. (NIV).
2. It motivates us to change, look for different ways to solve our problems, and gives us the potential to see this as an opportunity.
3. It helps us to have more faith and trust in God. It molds us to who God wants us to be.
James 1:2-4: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds. (3) Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
4. It gives us the ability to help others in the future that are going through something similar, and it helps us to be more compassionate towards others' needs.
In the Bible it says we must be victorious during tests (James 1:9- The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position). Of course, this is easy to say and hard to do, especially if you are going through a particularly rough time. I for one, know that I can't get through tests without God's help, and I know that each one has strengthened my relationship with him.
God is love and he will never stop loving you. He is wisdom and eagerly gives you his wisdom. Here are some verses that have helped me through hard times:
He has plans for us and will always keep us safe:
Jeremiah 29:11- For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
He has made promises to us and will keep them:
Psalms 119:50- My comfort in my suffering is this; Your promise preserves my life.
There is a time for everything; this too will pass:
Ecclesiastes 3- The entire chapter (my favorite passage in the Bible)
He's always there, just a prayer away. He always answers, all you have to do is reach out and ask for his help:
Psalms 128:3- When i called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.
Our true prize awaits us in heaven:
Philippians 4: 12-14- brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Nothing can take us down when we have the Lord on our side:
Psalm 27:3-4- Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear: though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. 4: One thing I ask of the Lord, his is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.
He always provides for us and takes care of us:
Matthew 6:26- Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable then they?
I am not the only one who has been through this, there have been others who have survived it, someday it will only be history:
Ecclesiastes 1:9- What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
God loves us. Our suffering has a purpose on our path:
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (2) through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. (3) Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; (4) perseverance, character; and character, hope. (5) And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
We need Jesus, and his comfort is never-ending:
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, (4) who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort ourselves have received from God. (5) For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
Constant prayer and communication with God, faith and trust in the things above, can help us get through this hard time:
Colossians 3:2- Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
We have to put in our part, too. But our rewards will be great:
Hebrews 10: 35-36: So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. (36) You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
Job was a man who suffered quite a bit. Read his story in the Old Testament to feel inspired. God never abandoned him.
What has helped you to get through hard times? What Bible passages have inspired you during trials and tests?
Note: As a respectful and tolerant person, I hope to not offend anyone by posting my beliefs here. I hope you can find consolation in this post, whether you are a believer or not.