What do you do when pain is your constant companion? How do you keep on going when life stays hard and uncertain? It’s then that our faith kicks in. When life gets really tough, I’ve asked God, “Why? Why me? Why did you decide to take my husband? Why did you look at my children and decide they didn’t need their father?” I also tend to beg God to remove my difficulties. However, there’s a much different example in Scripture of how to deal with difficulty. In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were beaten ruthlessly for helping a slave girl. After being fastened in stocks in a jail cell, they didn’t complain. They didn’t question God’s love for them. They didn’t ask God why. Do you know what they did? Verse 25 says they were praying and singing praises to God. Later on, we discover that as a result of their faith, the foundations of the prison were shaken. Other prisoners heard the gospel and the jailer’s family became believers. God had a purpose in their suffering.
In Deuteronomy, the Israelites are beginning to conquer the promised land. In Chapter 7, God tells them that he will help them conquer their enemies little by little. They would end up spending years at war to defeat the peoples that lived there. God tells them that he won’t let them conquer their enemies too quickly, “lest the wild beasts grow too numerous for you.” (Deuteronomy 7:22b) Ideally, they would’ve quickly defeated their enemies, but there was something more that God saw. He could see the future repercussions of a quick victory – wild animals that would become too prevalent and pose a danger to them. Sometimes, when we beg God to remove a trial in our life, we can’t see the other consequences. We must trust that God has a reason to leave us in difficulty, just as He had a reason for not giving immediate victory to the Israelites.
One of the hardest things about being stuck in a trial is it sometimes leaves us feeling inadequate. Have you ever felt like God overestimated your abilities when he decided to take your husband and leave you to raise your children alone? I certainly have. In the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand, a little boy offered Jesus his two fish and five loaves of bread. Jesus didn’t criticize him for not having more to offer. He just took what the little boy offered and made it enough. God can do the same for us. He knows he left us with a monumental task. We need to do our best, but then instead of feeling shame for what we can’t do, know that God will take what you offer and make it enough.
Lord, please help us surrender our questions to you because, at the end of the day, no amount of answers can heal our hearts. Only you can. Help us to have the kind of faith that would shake the ground we’re standing on and bring honor and glory to you. Help us to trust that you will take what we can offer and make it enough. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
When we can’t change our life circumstances, it can help to change what we can change. Buy a new dress. Change your hairstyle. Redecorate. It’s not a long-term solution, but it can help to give you something else to focus on for a little while. Sometimes, that’s all we need to lift our spirits a little. It also helps to just take a break. Make an easy dinner and snuggle with your kids while you watch a family movie. Purposefully plan a weekend where you don’t do much. These little things can go a long way toward helping us keep on going. Know that someday things will get easier. In the meantime, trust that God has a plan for you.