Sunday

Comfort When Life Mugs You

Trials often blindside us. Although some creep into our lives, others leap out and clobber us. One moment we’re strolling along happily, and the next, WHAM, we’re lying on the pavement wondering what just happened. 

Sometimes this happens literally, like the friend who stepped out onto her deck to water the plants and found herself at the foot of the stairs with a broken hip. Other times our trials come in the form of a job loss, family crisis, or sudden death. With no time to prepare, we’re left reeling, swaying from one emotion to the next. Fear, grief, and confusion pummel us until we’re emotionally and spiritually battered. 

In times like these, God’s sovereignty can be a mighty comfort. 

It can also be a stumbling block. People often struggle with God’s sovereign control when tragedy or trial enters their lives. Knowing God could prevent bad things from happening, we wonder why he allows hardship. 

But God is bigger than today. And even though I don’t like to acknowledge it, he has more in mind than just my comfort. His plan is grander, higher, and better than a pain-free, effortless life for us all. He tried that once, at the beginning of time, and humanity rejected it. 

Instead, he has one of two purposes for everything that happens in this world. First, he wants to reconcile all who would believe to himself. He often uses the trials of this life to help us realize how much we need a relationship with him. Many a soul has cried out to God for salvation when they’ve reached the end of themselves and discovered how much they need someone wiser and stronger to direct their lives. God uses trials to draw us to himself. 

But what if we already have a relationship with him? What if we’ve already surrendered our lives to his control? What merit is there then in suffering and hardship? 

This is where the second aspect of his purpose comes in. God allows difficulty to grow our faith. He uses scary times to prove that he will take care of us. He uses heartbreak to help us realize that when all seems lost, God remains. 

I’ve walked with God for more than 35 years. I’ve experienced heart-expanding joys and heart-breaking pain. The joyful times filled me with gratitude and worship to God. The gut-wrenching times flung me into his arms because I had nowhere else to go. 

The happy times have cemented my love and gratitude toward my heavenly Father, because every good gift comes from him. The hard times have anchored my trust in him. 

I’ve learned that whatever comes my way, God will walk through it with me. “Everyone deserted me,” the apostle Paul testified in 2 Timothy 4:16-17, “but the Lord stood at my side.” 

God wooed me with his mercy, then won me with his commitment. “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you,” he promises in Hebrews 5:15. The ultimate bridegroom, he has pledged to stand by me for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, in poverty and in wealth. 

And he has kept his promise. No day begins without his steady presence beside me. No monster knocks on my door without him at my side. No need of mine goes unmet, although his superior wisdom often provides in ways far different than I expect. 

“In the day of prosperity, be joyful,” Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 7:14, “but in the day of adversity consider; Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other.” 

Because we live in a fallen world, sickness, heartache, and pain will eventually enter our lives. Believers and unbelievers alike will experience their share of sorrow. But we get to choose – will we walk through these days alone or with the Lord by our side? 

Because of God’s faithfulness and character, we can trust him. Whether joy or pain comes our way, we can have piece, knowing that our loving Father promises to use everything in our lives for our ultimate good and his everlasting glory. 

That’s powerful comfort. 

Now it’s your turn. If you’re struggling with God’s sovereignty in the face of trial or loss, I want to pray for you. If you’ll leave a comment below, I promise to ask our Father to wrap his loving arms around you and carry you through. He is faithful. You can trust him. 

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3 comments:

  1. I request prayer for my daughter, Megan, and for my family. We've been undergoing one trial after another for quite some time it seems. Just when we seem to get through one thing something else comes along. I pray for healing and for faith and trust in God.

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    Replies
    1. Beverly,
      It will be my privilege to pray for y'all. I know how it feels to finally get your head above water, only to be swamped by another wave. But the God who is Lord over the wind and the waves is in the boat with you. I will pray for his hand of healing, comfort, and courage. Blessings to you, friend.

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