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To Suffer Or Not To Suffer?


The human spirit can endure in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?
– Proverbs 18:14

I have had so many of you ask what I spoke about at The Chapel two weeks ago, and if I would be willing to write about it. I will be sharing small pieces of what I talked about over the next couple of weeks. Here is one piece that helped me answer a BIG question I had about God… I hope it helps you too.

Do you ever wonder if God sees your pain?
What do you do when God says “no” to your heart’s greatest desire?
Why didn’t God do anything, when He could have fixed everything?

I think most of us have asked these hard questions, just not out loud. It makes people uncomfortable when you doubt God, right?

So we stuff the pain deep in our hearts, and pray we have enough control over the hurt to keep it down deep, out of sight. Fat chance, right? It rears its ugly head at the worst possible moments. Have you ever found that?

The pain we go through, and the shattered dreams we experience, plant lies in our hearts, and we question God’s love for us. Suffering makes us doubt God’s love for us.

Our broken hearts beat to the rhythm of doubt.

It may be full-blown disbelief about His love, or that little nagging doubt that won’t leave you alone no matter how much you try to stuff it down. For me, those doubts started as little and nagging in childhood. But when I became an adult, they blew up into big and scary doubts.

Years and years of infertility chipped away at my faith each month when I realized I wasn’t pregnant.

Miscarrying a baby on Mother’s Day after seven years of trying to get pregnant took a huge toll on my faith.

Losing twins three months after my first miscarriage was a moment I wasn’t sure I would survive.

Two weeks after my third miscarriage, my husband almost died from an anaphylactic reaction (he was bitten by a spider). This was too much.

And the struggles and pain just keep coming don’t they?

I have a child with autism. I love him so much, but every day is hard. Every day.

What about you? What has happened to you that has broken your heart and left you questioning God’s love for you? Was it one moment of tragedy, or is it something that is hard every day?

I believed many lies and I left my questions about God buried for years. Eleven to be exact.

Eleven years of wondering and doubting and stuffing down. I do not recommend this. It’s miserable.

The good news is that God didn’t leave me in the pit I was in, even though it took Him years of coaxing. I’m so thankful He didn’t give up on me. Finally, I was so miserable trying to ignore all those doubts and what God was saying about them that I decided it would be easier to turn and face the pain with God than to be miserable without Him.

In the last two years, I have gone through the VERY painful process of digging up the wounds I had buried. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but it was worth every tear. A dear friend and mentor and my husband walked through this process with me. Jesus walked through this process with me. His love is why I came through it.

I want to say here that your heart is safe with Jesus. My heart is free now because I finally believed this was true.

Let me say that again. Your heart is safe with Jesus. Do you believe that?

God showed me a passage of Scripture recently that has really helped my view of suffering. I believe He gave me new eyes as I read it.

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his facet to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” – Mathew 26:36-39

Truth: Jesus knows what it’s like to get a “no” from God. He was “overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” He begged God for a different way, but God said “no.”

And yet, God still loved Jesus deeply. He still loves us deeply, even as He is saying “no.”

I think it breaks God’s heart when He has to tell us “no.” We can’t see the plan. We can’t see the whole picture right now. But He sees and He knows. And He has a plan to use it for good. Do we trust God with His plan for us, even when He hasn’t shown it to us yet?

Jesus knew the plan, and yet He still asked God for another way. And not just once: three times He pleaded with His Father. It comforts me to know that Jesus wasn’t afraid to ask God more than once for what He wanted. I begged God thousands of times for a baby. I think God is okay with our asking, but it doesn’t mean His answer will be “yes.” Remember, He sees what we cannot. He is God.

Truth: Jesus suffered more than anyone in history. He suffered unimaginable pain physically.

Just as there were many who were appalled at him- his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness. - Isaiah 52:14

Jesus was basically beaten to a pulp. He was not recognized as human. Do we fully grasp this? I know I don’t.

Not to mention He took the sins of the entire planet on Himself. This is something we cannot begin to understand in our human minds.

Truth: Jesus never asks us to suffer beyond what He has endured. He is a Savior who has experienced suffering in ways we cannot imagine. He can sympathize with us. He can comfort us and cry with us, because He has been there.

Something to think about as I close here…

Jesus suffered deeply to complete His mission.

What if the suffering we have experienced is to be used for the very mission God sent us here for?

What if we miss our assignment here on earth because our pain is still an unhealed wound, and it’s keeping us from trusting God and obeying what He wants us to do?

We need to beg God that this would not happen to us!

Let’s not waste our pain. He is Healer. Redeemer. Wonderful Counselor. Ask Him what that next right step is for you to find healing from your pain. And then ask Him to use what you have gone through to help someone else.

Lord, help us. Some days feel like we are being crushed by the weight of our aching hearts. Use our pain. We don’t want what we have gone through to be for nothing. Show us how to dig up the wounds and lay them before You. Only You can heal those wounds and transform them into something that can be used for good purposes. Pour out your love on us and remind us that You are a safe place to bring our hearts. Amen.

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If you are an imperfect wife, mom, daughter, or friend, struggling to stay focused on God in the craziness and find joy in the heartache, then we have something in common. I am a recovering perfectionist and daughter of the King, slowly learning to fully trust the One who sees me just as I am, and is already pleased. I’m so glad you are here.

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