Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the Lord has brought me insult and reproach all day long. But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. (Jeremiah 20:8-9)
Before she found a new life in the arms of Boaz, Ruth mourned for her husband. Before David sat upon a throne, he faced a giant. Before Moses laid eyes on the Promised Land, he wandered the dessert. Even Jeremiah, who was set apart before birth, faced adversity at ever turn. In the scriptures, alongside words of God’s grace and mercy, we find suffering and trials. God’s prophets and followers were tossed in pits, left broken without loved ones, run out of cities, and even tortured and killed. We see and generously quote them in their times of triumph and redemption, but it is imperative that we remember the struggle.
None of us are exempt from the reality of pain and loss. Before our days on this earth are through, we will shed tears full of confusion and sorrow. The unquestionable difference between suffering in the world, and suffering in the arms of God is the outcome. We smile at the face of a Father who gives us happy days, but we cling to the side of Him who brought us through tragedy and fought by our side. The truest relationships are solidified by the survival of trials. Challenge and suffering teach us. We grow and mature in struggle. A flawless view of God’s love and His plan for us is revealed when we step back to observe the damage, only to realize that the victory is in the strength He’s given us to stand.
Within the pages of the Word, we find that intense struggle often precedes success. We see that our scars have a hand in shaping us, strengthening us, and preparing us for what is to come. We cannot avoid the hurt, but we can be confident that God’s plan is not to defeat us. We become malleable in the flame. We become vulnerable to moments of reformation when we push through suffering. We rise out of the flames brand new.
When I face trials, draw me closer to you, Lord. Give me the strength to emerge from times of struggle standing tall and the humility to grow from them. In happiness and chaotic moments remind me that you are always preparing me. Help me find comfort in your arms and your word. Amen
Can you recall seasons of trial when God used the struggle to strengthen your faith or prepare you for a future plan?
In what ways do you think the trials in your life have better prepared you to follow God’s plan?