At the beginning of his troubles, after Satan had taken his property and his children, Job said:
“…Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21).
No offense to Job – I don’t hold a candle to him – but it is easy to be spiritual at the start of a trial, when the consequences of it have not permeated down to the fibers of your existence and have lasted beyond the last measure of your faith. Job never denied God, but as his trial wore on, he did have to question why, and he did want his “day in court” before God. Not many who have endured a long trial, or a long series of trials can say they have not struggled with doubt. Even Jesus, Who suffered the greatest trial of all when He hung on the cross for our sins cried out: “My God! My God! Why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (See Mark 15:34)
When we suffer, our humanity naturally wants to know: “God, where are You?” Because suffering through difficulty is very lonely. Of course, friends come by to help and offer comfort. Some can even empathize with our hurt because they’ve gone through the same or similar thing. But in the end, our suffering is our own. What we need is patience (endurance) and real comfort (assurance). God is author of both:
“Now the God of patience and of comfort grant you to be of the same mind one with another according to Jesus Christ” (Romans 15:5).
Paul, who was no stranger to suffering for Christ, wrote these words to the Christians at Rome who were suffering for their faith. What counsel did Paul give them? He told them to hold fast to their God and the fact that He is the source of endurance (patience) and comfort. When you are in a trial that is not always easy to see, but ask anyone who has endured difficulty in their walk with God and come out of it, and their testimonies are very much the same:
“I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry” (Psalms 40:1).
Perhaps you know someone who is enduring a trial. Pray that God will give them the patience they need to endure. Ask that God gives them that verse, that passage that gives them what they need to hold onto to get through that trial. It is the best gift you can give them. Pray that they know the patience and the comfort that they can only get from God. Because what they need to know more than anything else, is that the great God of Heaven is with them not just through the beginning of their troubles, but through every step of the way.
[Photo by Glenn Haertlein on Unsplash]