Starting a blog is such a process. Writing a first post is also quite a big decision. You want something to really draw the readers in but you also kind of just want to jump right into what is on your mind. So hopefully what is on my mind draws you all in cause that is too much work.
This time last year, I did not have Jesus in my life. Thinking about that now is just so absolutely crazy to me! But it is true. Because of wounds from my past that I could not move on from, I came to the conclusion that God could not possibly exist, not with all the hurt and pain I had to endure. After finally relenting and letting Jesus change my way of being, life has become so much better and easier and amazing! Ha. Ha. Not. This year has seriously tested my faith in the most beautiful ways. The one thing about Jesus that intrigued me the most, the one thing that made Christianity stand out above all the rest, was the fact that He gives me purpose to my pain. I love that. I could not live this life going through what I have to go through, without a purpose. I would quit. There is just no way. And this what I want to share with you all today; my study through the purpose of pain and suffering in the world and in our own personal lives.
Listen to this. “God is love, and He loves you with an everlasting love. Therefore, everything that comes into your life must be filtered through His fingers of love. No one can touch you, speak to you, look at you, or do anything to you without His permission. If aversity comes into your life, it comes with His permission. And if it comes, it will work together for your good. It will be used to conform you into His image. It will not keep you from the kingdom of heaven.” Isn’t that amazing? Just knowing that whatever is going on in your life right now, whatever has happened in your life in the past, it was all filtered through God. He never gives us more than we can handle…with Him of course. But…guess what? Knowing this truth does not take away the pain. This does not automatically heal and fix everything. Life is still going to be hard, it will still be painful. And what are we supposed to do with that? How do we just make it through day by day when things seem to never get better? I know God loves me, I know He has a plan for me, but why is it still so hard to just get up in the morning? I feel this. I have lived this. Since the beginning of this year, I have woken up every day feeling nauseous, feeling utterly lonely, feeling lost in despair, and really not seeing any way I could keep going. I was always told these wonderful truths about God and about His plan for my life and how (my personal favorite *sarcasm*) “everything happens for a reason Ione.” Thanks. Great. That doesn’t change the fact that what I am going through right now sucks. But what I have learned, and what I am SO GLAD God taught me, was that you need to lean into the discomfort of life. What does that even mean? It means that you have to fully embrace the fact that what you are going through right now is hard, it is painful, it is impossible to get through on your own. Lean on God, lean into the reality of life. Accept the facts but also accept the truths. What are these truths? It’s called scripture. God decided to have some amazing people record down some amazing promises so that YOU can read them and know that they apply to your life. Here are some of my favorites that I think you all should check out.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Isaiah 53:5 Hebrews 4:15-16
2 Timothy 4:18 2 Thessalonians 1:5 Romans 8:28-39
All of these passages have a lot to say about the purpose to our suffering here on earth. I encourage you to read through these and really meditate on what God is trying to say to us. I also want you all to check out this text. I am reading through an amazing book called “The Case for Faith” by Lee Strobel and the section I am in right now is talking all about this topic; how could a loving God allow so much pain and evil in the world? Here are some key points I want to share with you all.
“Look at it this way. Would you agree that the difference between us and God is greater than the difference between us and, say, a bear? Okay, then, imagine a bear in a trap and a hunter who, out of sympathy, wants to liberate him. He tries to win the bear’s confidence, but he can’t do it, so he has to shoot the bear full of drugs. The bear, however, thinks this is an attack and that the hunter is trying to kill him. He doesn’t realize that this is being done out of compassion. Then, in order to get the bear out of the trap, the hunter has to push him further into the trap to release the tension on the spring. If the bear were semiconscious at that point, he would be even more convinced that the hunter was his enemy who was out to cause him suffering and pain. But the bear would be wrong. He reaches this incorrect conclusion because he’s not a human being. How can anyone be certain that’s not an analogy between us and God? I believe God does the same to us sometimes, and we can’t comprehend why he does it any more than the bear can understand the motivations of the hunter. As the bear could have trusted the hunter, so we can trust God.”
So, it is possible that God is wise enough to foresee that we need some pain for reasons which we may not understand but which he foresees as being necessary to some eventual good. Therefore, he’s not being evil by allowing that pain to exist. Certainly, there are times when God allows suffering and deprives us of the lesser good of pleasure in order to help us toward the greater good of moral and spiritual growth. We know that moral character gets formed through hardships, as it says, “…we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us!!!”
I want to end with a prayer over you guys. Before I do that, I want to thank you for taking the time to read through this! I hope that this post and future posts will be found encouraging and even thought provoking as you walk with me through this journey.
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how side and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever, AMEN!” (Ephesians 3:15-21)