Light is appreciated and valued, because we’ve experienced darkness. Hope is truly valued after we’ve experienced despair. Our blessings bring us the greatest joy, because we’ve experienced life without them. We value health because we’ve experienced sickness, and we understand the value of being loved because we know what it’s like to feel loneliness.
I don’t think there is anyone who enjoys the suffering, the difficulties, the sickness, the pain, and the hardships of life; yet Paul tells us in the Bible that he is “glad to boast about [his] weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through [him].”(2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT) When we can look to God in whatever life brings, His power gives us the strength to endure and gain all the good that He has promised to bring about.
Here are a few thoughts from some who discovered that when they turned to God in times of trouble, He walked by their side through it all.
Thankfulness is the secret of joy.—Author unknown
We human beings instinctively regard the seen world as the “real” world and the unseen world as the “unreal” world, but the Bible calls for almost the opposite.—Philip Yancey (b. 1949)
Every truth about suffering can be twisted into a weapon for or against God. Most often, suffering speeds us in the direction we are already heading—whether toward or away from God.—David McKenna
Don’t shake your head when you see a mom or dad with a Down syndrome child and say, No way could I face that. Most likely you couldn’t. Which is precisely why God hasn’t asked you to. Instead, take time to seriously consider how you will remain joyful within your own particular, unique, individual situation. Accept your circumstances as a gift from His hand. Dare to thank Him for them.—Joni Eareckson Tada (b. 1949)
Think of your worst moments, your sorrows, your losses, your sadness, and then remember that here you are, able to remember them. You got through the worst day of your life. You got through the trauma, you got through the trial, you endured the temptation, you survived the bad relationship, you’re making your way out of the dark. Remember the bad things … then look to see where you are. When we remember how difficult life used to be and how far we have come, we set up an explicit contrast in our mind, and this contrast is fertile ground for gratefulness.—Reverend Peter Gomes (1942–2011)
In suffering—pray that the trial increases your capacity for faith.—Bob O’Bannon
Don’t pray for a lighter burden. Pray for a stronger back.—Author unknown
Whenever you feel yourselves weak, do not say, “I am weak,” but seek the remedy—for it is God’s Word.—John Calvin (1509–1564)
In times of trouble say, first: He brought me here; it is by His will I am in this strait place, in that I will rest. Next: He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace in this trial to behave as His child. Then: He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me the lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow. Last: In His good time He can bring me out again—how and when He knows. Say: I am here (1) by God’s appointment, (2) in His keeping, (3) under His training, (4) for His time.—Andrew Murray (1828–1917)
God is not concerned about our plans; He doesn’t ask, “Do you want to go through the loss of a loved one, this difficulty or this defeat?” No, He allows these things for His own purpose. The things we are going through are either making us sweeter, better, and nobler men and women, or they are making us more critical and fault-finding and more insistent on our own way. The things that happen either make us evil or they make us more saintly, depending entirely on our relationship with God and its level of intimacy.—Oswald Chambers (1874–1917)
No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.—1 Corinthians 10:13 MSG