It’s not a question of if we’ll struggle and suffer; it’s a matter of when.
That may be a reality we recognize in our lives, but it can be an altogether different matter when actually facing those times. How can we face our struggles with faith and strength in the Lord? (cf. Ephesians 6:10). How can we intentionally entrust our souls to a faithful God when we’re struggling? (cf. 1 Peter 4:19). How can we shine for our precious Lord when we’re struggling and suffering?
Here are four rock-solid principles from God’s word to keep in mind when your world is rocked by struggle, suffering, and pain.
Carefully Consider Your Words. When we face pressures and struggles, it’s so easy to say things we should not. It’s easy to speak out in our pain. We can lash out at others and even God. Our Lord’s words are most appropriate: “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:34-37). When we’re struggling, how we should carefully weigh our words before speaking! (Ephesians 4:29).
There’s No Such Thing as a Pain-Free Life. Therefore, don’t waste your struggles and pain. Jesus learned by the things He suffered (Hebrews 5:7-9). Shouldn’t we too? If only we could better ask ourselves of every struggle, “How can I utilize this to conform more to the image of God’s dear Son?” (Romans 8:29). Recall Paul’s words, “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake” (Philippians 1:29). Whatever is for Christ’s glory ultimately is for our good too! (Romans 8:28). Every struggle, every pain, and every sorrow reminds us of our personal inadequacy and of our desperate need of God.
Be Sure That God Will Be Gracious in Your Struggles. Like so many before us, in our struggles and suffering we come to see that God’s grace is super-abundant (Romans 5:15-21), all-sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:7-9), rich (Ephesians 2:4-7) and great (Acts 4:33). We sing about “Amazing Grace” and how it sees us “through many dangers, toils and snares.” And we learn through our lives how true this really is. God really is the God of all grace! (1 Peter 5:10-12). Look for His grace.
No Problem Is Ever Too Great For God. How often I have been tempted to make my struggle or pain bigger than my God. I have magnified the problem and made God so small He could only be seen through a microscope in my life! I suppose there are moments we all tend to do this. Our view of things is easily twisted when we hurt, isn’t it? May God help us to rise about “see level” to truly see eternal realities. Read 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 and really let it sink in. God is so good. He gives so graciously. His love, His presence, and His promise are enough. Every problem or struggle we face in life seems so much smaller when our God is so great and awesome.