A Life Full of Suffering
Today I listened to a sermon-cast from my church in Columbia, Missouri over Revelations 2:8-11 that got me to thinkin’. The topic of the sermon was one that comes up a lot in the church, suffering. Suffering for God and suffering for your beliefs. Not just religious persecution, but the many trials and tribulations we face in this earthly life God has given us. Many of us, including myself and my family, know this suffering all too well. Maybe it’s losing a loved one, maybe it’s disease, divorce, addiction. It’s the kind of suffering that breaks your heart over and over again, to the point where it becomes almost impossible to see God’s will, but in the end, if you truly seek Him, his Will will show itself to you. I’m not sure why I decided to blog about this, maybe I just really wanted to get some of these thoughts out of my head, or maybe God wants me to put them out there for one reason or another. I’m not a preacher, I’m just a girl with a lot of thoughts running through her head and not enough ears to share them with.
So back to my blog. I think that when you are dealing with one of these situations where you are suffering and you feel like the walls are closing in on you, like there is no light at the end of the tunnel, it is so so hard to see it as anything other than misfortune or a punishment. “Why is God doing this to me?” I’ve been there, I’ve asked myself that question countless times. But if we continue to seek Him and look deeper, we can see that these are all just tests. God gives us these tests, these hardships, as a kind of assignment, to show him that we are faithful and deserving of the crown of life that is awaiting us if we follow Him. After all, we would not have His promise of eternal life if He had not endured the ultimate suffering of giving His life for us. We might feel completely abandoned in the midst of our sufferings, but if we continue to seek Him we will find in the end that Christ was by our side the whole time. God knows our afflictions and our poverty, but He also knows that we are truly rich in Him. If we choose to endure these tests and stand by His side even in our darkest days, we have the greatest gift of all waiting for us- eternal life.
God DOES have a purpose in every trial he puts us through, there is always a purpose. We will become stronger not only in ourselves, but in Him and in our faith. We are also given the chance to share with others and to bring them closer to God. I won’t go into my story right now and all the loss I have known in my 24 years of life, but I will tell you that all of the suffering me and my family have been through has brought countless people closer to God. It has opened up a door in so many situations for us to share what God has done for us and show them the Grace that He has shown us.
At the end of the sermon, Paster Cover closed the service by reading Psalm 23, which I think is a passage anyone who is ever going through a hard time in their life, should read and be able to find comfort in. I know I have many, many times.
A psalm of David.
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death, [a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
I hope someone can find some kind of comfort in these words.