I would like to introduce you to my newest guest blogger, Karen Gaul. Karen has been counseling since 1994 and has been certified with the ACBC since 1995. She considers it an awesome privilege and honour to be able to walk with brothers and sisters in Christ to find healing, contentment, joy and peace in the Lord. Today’s blog is reposted with permission. You can find out more about my Canadian friend and read more of Karen’s writing here.
What is God’s purpose for orchestrating life events that bring suffering into our lives? With Purpose: God is intentional about what He selects for me. He knows me, He knows my frame, He knows what He wants to accomplish in and through me and my suffering is handpicked with all that in mind. God desires to grow us, to mature us so that, we would not lack any good thing and very often that comes through the doorway of suffering.
Nothing happens to us that has not first gone through nail-scarred hands.
On purpose: Philippians 1:29 For to you has been given the privilege not only of trusting him but also of suffering for him.(TLB)
is therefore, a gift for us. A gift is intended to bless us, because the Giver of the gift knows me and knows what would accomplish what He wants in my life. God is deliberate on the particular type of suffering as well as the timing of it. It will happen at “just the right time” and not a second sooner. I need to trust His schedule because according to my agenda suffering is usually “bad timing”. I need to remember that when things happen in my life God is a big part of what is going on. (see The matter of Who Brings Suffering
. ) Suffering unites us with Christ.
The reason He became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14) was so that He could share in all that we will endure and encounter while living here. He suffered in His life, and He suffered in His death and we will share in some of that suffering, but we also get to celebrate and live in His forever Glory (1 Peter 4:12-13).
“Your suffering occurs alongside of Christ’s. Your life story is embedded in his story. Your suffering, therefore, is actually a participation in the sufferings of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:5; Philippians 3:10; 1 Peter 4:12-13) Michael Emlet
For a Purpose: I believe I could blog every day and still not mine the riches of all that God purposes for each of us in our trials, because our trials are not only for us, but also for the benefit of others (2 Corinthians 1:3-11) and I have no idea who all the “others” might be that God wants to bless at some point in time with what you have endured.
Jamie and I have been most blessed by the Lord in many ways throughout our life together (31 years now). One of those ways of blessing us was with NOT having children. (I know that seems strange to say, but it seems even stranger to say that God didn’t bless us with children). Any good gift (James 1:19) that the Lord has bestowed on us has been a blessing, and every hardship He has allowed us to walk through has also been a blessing. The fact that we didn’t have children was a time of great struggle for us, but over the years we have witnessed time and time again how God has used our past struggle to encourage or bless someone who is struggling with infertility and childlessness.
If my struggle blesses another person then it will have been For a Purpose.
For Me: Suffering has the ability to accomplish many things in us. We can become bitter and angry like Naomi (Ruth 1) or we may move into other wrong, twisted thinking or we can see our suffering as an opportunity to grow in our relationship with Christ, and an opportunity to reflect Him to the world around us.
James 1 speaks to us about our struggles and suffering (1 Peter 1:6), when it tells us to “consider it pure joy when you face trials of various kinds”. Joy is not necessarily my first go to response when trouble finds me, but that is part of what God is doing. He wants me to separate joy (a condition of the heart) from happiness (circumstantial feeling). I can be in a joyful place (the condition of my heart) and still not be in a happy place in my circumstances. (I will let you read that sentence over again and reflect on its truth.)
God wants me to grow, as I mentioned above, again James gives us a glimpse of some of what God is up to in our struggle. He wants me to become steadfast, to persevere when my faith gets rattled and shaken. Why? Perseverance (Romans 5:3-5) helps me to mature and not lack anything, I don’t know about you but, maturity, not lacking anything, stronger in my faith are all things I desire, and this is oneway God will use to grow those character traits in my heart.
The best part of going through our suffering and trials is that we NEVER walk the road alone. He provides a lamp (Psalm 119:105), He gives us His Word (2 Timothy 3:16), He gives us the body (the church, your small group, a believing friend), He gives us Himself (Hebrews 13:5; Psalm 23:4). That my friend is what makes it possible to have joy in the midst of our pain.
What are some of the purposes that God might want to accomplish in your sorrow and pain?
It isn’t sometimes until we come out the other side that we can actually see a purpose, and even if I can never see ONE purpose (although I find that doubtful) the Bible would tell me that God does things On Purpose, With Purpose and For a Purpose. Do you believe that?
So instead of asking the “Why” question, maybe we could instead be asking “What is God up to in my life through this trial?”