"Suffering invites us to press into God and learn to rely on him more fully."
by Cherry Fargo, Certified Life Coach and Founder of Being Remade
Joni Eareckson Tada is an accomplished and inspiring writer and speaker, as well as an amazing artist. However, she had to overcome many obstacles in her life to achieve those accomplishments. A tragic spinal cord injury from a diving accident transformed her life into one of physical paralysis when she was just 17 years old. Yet she found strength in God and the courage to succeed.
Whatever challenges we are going through, rather than assume that God is absent or far off, we have to be willing to ask the question, "Where is God in all of my struggles?" When we look at his word, we discover the answer to this question in 1 Peter 5:10: “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”
Let’s just close our eyes for a moment and imagine the truth of that verse. Can you see that God is with us in it all? He knows what we are going through but he has a plan to “strengthen and establish” us. What a beautiful truth to know. Yet, there are times when we probably still ask the question, “But why do I have to suffer at all, even a little while seems like too much?”
Suffering invites us to press into God and learn to rely on him more fully. If we are willing to learn, adversity teaches us who we are and reveals the depth of our trust in our Heavenly Father. Think about it, faith is easy when life is easy. In the trials we have to work through we can learn that God can, and will, faithfully sustain us. It is out of God’s love for us that he allows us to go through hard times.
As we push through our hardships and learn to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord” (2 Peter 3:18), the Father also uses our suffering as a testimony and encouragement to those around us. Just as we see other people like Joni overcoming and are inspired by it, those who are watching us walk through difficulties are impacted by what they see. If we fully rely on God through the difficulties of our lives, we will not only find encouragement but we will also become an encouragement for others. Trust today that God is working it all out for our good and his glory. He is always faithful.