"Hey, wait a minute, I didn’t sign up for this!"
Early in my walk with Christ, I experienced a very difficult time. So many challenges hit our family at once it seemed that it would never end. It became clear my reliance on the things of the world had crumbled, and God was moving in my life, guiding me rely on His promises.
During this time, I saw Proverbs 3:5-6 framed and hanging on the wall in a store. “Trust in the Lord.” I bought the framed scripture and it became my life verse. From his book God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life, Tim Keller takes us to a deep understanding of adversity and suffering from God’s Word:
The wisdom literature calls on the wise to be patient in suffering. And the second Beatitude tells us that if we mourn, God will comfort us. But this is not just a promise for some generic spiritual strength to be communicated to us from heaven.
It is through God’s salvation we are promised “peace like a river” and that “as a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; and you shall be comforted” (Isaiah 66:12-13). But why can you and I be so assured of such infallible comfort? In ourselves we don’t deserve it. It is only because Jesus mourned, because he was a “man of suffering, and familiar with pain” (Isaiah 53:3), because he wept inconsolably and died in the dark for us, that we can be comforted. The tears of Jesus are the deepest consolation possible. We see him weeping at the tomb of his friend Lazarus (John 11:35), even though he knows he is about to raise him from the dead. And so, even though he will eventually raise us up, he is still moved by our suffering in this life. Proverbs calls us to be strong in adversity, but the gospel gives us what we need to do so.
Recall a time in which God comforted you when you were mourning.
Lord, I don’t want suffering in my life, and I know you don’t want me to have this pain either. Yet the various comforts you give me in my trials change me in ways I would never want to lose. I don’t thank you for the evils that have hurt me, but I praise you with the ways you make me more happy and holy through them.
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