So you are angry and bitter. Something terrible has happened in your world. Now what? I won’t lie and pretend to know all the answers. If that were the case, I wouldn’t struggle with anger so much myself.
I do know that we gain strength from suffering. Sometimes, it can give us compassion for others. If we do something wrong 100 times, then figure out how to do it right, if we see someone start to do that thing the wrong way, we would be eager to help out so they wouldn’t have to go through the unnecessary frustration. Sometimes, suffering humbles us. Sometimes, we suffer in extreme ways, in life changing events, and sometimes they aren’t in necessarily huge ways.
I won’t say that every single time we suffer, it was on purpose from God. But I will say that he gives us a reason to have hope while we suffer. He can take our hardships and bring something good out of them. We can glorify him and learn to trust him more.
I feel I should share this with you from ‘Dying to Live‘. Clayton was talking about how he had hit rock bottom in his life:
“One evening during this season of despair, I hit my lowest point emotionally. I was upstairs. The room was completely dark. As I lay on my back in bed, the tears had pooled up in my eyes and were hot on my skin. I was rehearsing my good deeds before God and feeling more and more rotten by the second as I tried to convince Him that, based on all my superior goodness, He should heal my mom, re-open Daddy’s shop, and get me a full ride to Furman, Wake Forest, or Gardner-Webb. It was not working at all. God wasn’t buying it. Neither was I.
It was then, out of the blue, as it were, that the very Holy Spirit of God came and stood on my chest. Hard. Right there in the darkness.
As if someone had snatched back dark curtains to reveal that it was noon outside and the sun was shining bright when I thought it was still 3 a.m. and dark, the light cascaded into my mind and my soul. The epiphany was tangible. It was like I could feel the light from the sun on my face, or maybe like I had been doused with a bucket of ice water unexpectedly while my head was turned the other way. What God unveiled to me right then and right there, with pools of hot tears in my eye sockets, took my breath away.
Son, I know you are lonely and afraid and confused. But I have not left you. I am simply doing what you asked Me to do and I am using these things to do it. I am breaking you and humbling you to prepare you for what lies ahead and to remind you to trust in Me alone. So trust Me. Not yourself. Not your plans. Not football. Not money. Not scholarships. Just trust Me.”
The Lord caused him to suffer, for a purpose: to get Clayton to trust him more. Yes, it broke both of their hearts, but it ultimately made him stronger.
I try to remember things like this when I start to get all frustrated and angry with God. Sometimes, it really is his will. God has plans for us that we cannot yet fully understand, and we only get glimpses of this awesome future, until he leads us there slowly, unraveling all the wonder day by day.
To know that I don’t struggle simply for no reason, but that their may be a much deeper meaning behind it, it gives me a sense of peace at mind, amidst all the madness, pain, and confusion.
It’s not going to be easy, but sticking by God, throughout all the misery, will ultimately have good rewards. That gives me hope. Sometimes we come to difficult points in life so that God can test our faith:
“These troubles come to prove that your faith is pure. This purity of faith is worth more than gold, which can be proved to be pure by fire but will ruin. But the purity of your faith will bring you praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is shown to you. You have not seen Christ, but still you love him. You cannot see him now, but you believe in him. So you are filled with a joy that cannot be explained, a joy full of glory. And you are receiving the goal of your faith—the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:7-9
Sometimes, God will put people through tests of faith. If they hold tight to their faith to the end, he will richly bless them.
Sometimes, people make huge mistakes in their walks with God, and they have to suffer because it is a form of discipline. It doesn’t mean God will never love them again, because he always loves them. But it is simply a good parent and a child. The child does something horribly wrong, and what does a good parent do? A good parent will discipline the child, letting them see what they did wrong, and helping them to turn from that, to the right path.
“If you go the wrong way—to the right or to the left—you will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the right way. You should go this way.'” Isaiah 30:21
As Hillsong United says in a song,
“A thousand times I’ve failed
Still your mercy remains
And should I stumble again
Still I’m caught in your grace”
God will lead us back to the right path if we are truly sorry in our hearts, and he will have mercy on us and forgive us. So sometimes, we fail, and we suffer. We shouldn’t turn away from God and be bitter, though; he is simply trying to lead his precious children on the right path to living the most fulfilling lives.