Psalms 103:1-5 (NKJV)
“Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
Having spent 12 hours vomiting, followed by 4 days in the hospital with a tube down my throat, it is good to be alive!
Suffering is a hard thing for us. We don’t like it. We don’t understand it. A big reason why we don’t like it IMHO, is that we do not understand it. It would be easier for us if we knew why and how long it would last.
If God spoke to us and said, “I got this trial you need to go through. It will make you stronger by reveling your weakness. I need to teach this to you, because in the coming time, there will be a need for you to depend upon Me and My strength like never before. It will last about a week. But remember, I’ll be there right with you and if it gets too hard, just let Me know and I’ll put an end to it.”
Knowing why and how long would be easier for us. But God doesn’t work that way. He, in His wisdom, decides when and how long and asks us to trust Him. In fact, He knows that suffering is sometimes necessary for us. Consider what the Apostle Peter said:
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
1 Peter 1:6-7 NKJV
Three words in this verse indicate that sometimes it is necessary for us to suffer. They are, “if need be.” Now, who decides? It certainly isn’t me. I have yet to wake up in the morning and say, “You know Lord, I really haven’t had a time of trial and suffering in a long time. And You know, I could really use a good trial. So, lay one on me.” Honestly, you probably haven’t prayed a prayer like that either.
God decides when and how we are to be “… grieved by various trials…” Like a good Father, He knows what we need. Now no child would ever want to be corrected. My mother used to say when I was young, “How would you like a good spanking?” And I would be thinking, “Is this a trick question?”
And Peter, that knucklehead, goes on to say, “In this you greatly rejoice…” Sorry, but I haven’t reached that level of spiritual growth that would allow me to rejoice in times of trial. I could see me in the emergency room. “Wow! This is so cool. I’m as sick as a dog, I have a blockage in my small intestine that could cause my insides to rot from gangrene, but I am sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo happy!” About the time I said that, they would book a stay for me at the laughing academy.
I believe that God does not like to see us suffer. In the time of the Judges, Israel was (once again) suffering in bondage because they forsook God and started following idols.
“And His soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel.” Judges 10:16, NKJV
In this verse we see a glimpse of the heart of God towards Israel. And, towards us as well. Look at this:
“For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” Hebrews 12:6, NKJV
Now, laying in my hospital bed, so sick I wanted to die, I knew that I wasn’t going to die. (Rats! I’m ready to go – but, apparently God doesn’t think so, so here I am). And in the midst of all this suffering and pain, I grew closer to my King. And that (I think) was His purpose. To strengthen me and to draw me closer. But, you know, I really don’t know, so for now I will continue to trust Him who is faithful.
Think about it…
(Scripture taken from the New King James Version, Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, inc., Used by permission. All rights reserved).