Difficulties and suffering can make us want to give up or throw ourselves the biggest pity party the world has ever seen. If there is no end in sight to our trials and suffering, we may come to the conclusion that God really doesn’t deliver his people as he promised. It is at such times that the real problem lies not with God, but with us.
Paul wrote his epistle to the Philippians while he was chained in a Roman prison, but he wasn’t feeling sorry for himself. Despite his circumstances, he managed to look past his less than desirable situation and chose to glorify and rejoice in his Savior throughout it. Although he wasn’t being delivered, countless people were being saved by having contact with him, both personally and through his writings.
God’s deliverance doesn’t always meet our expectations. Sometimes he removes us from our difficult situations so we don’t have to face them any longer. This is what we typically want, but it’s not his only method of deliverance. Other times, he chooses to strengthen us through our hardships in order to grow and mature our faith. During our trials, he may use our growth in faith as a witness to others.
When your affliction (job loss, chronic illness, emotional hurt, etc.) is lasting longer than you want, ask yourself, “What fruit is God producing in my life through this and how is he working in other people’s lives through this situation?”
Always know that you can trust the Lord no matter how he chooses to deliver you.
Lord, you know what I am going through. Help me trust you are using the difficult times in my life to a better-than-I-could-ever-have-expected outcome. Comfort me and let me be a witness to other. Let me look for the day you will deliver me from evil, even if it isn’t until the day I meet you in eternity. Amen.
Go Deeper — In the Lord’s Prayer (see Matthew 16:13 we ask God to “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.” Ponder that. What does that mean to you? Why not talk it over with some Christian friends and see what they think it means?
Photo Credit: Elena Blessing