When you experience a season of suffering, it’s important to learn any lessons God is trying to teach you in the midst of your pain. The reason you have found yourself in a season of suffering may vary. But one thing is always true: If you are hurting, that is an opportunity to lean into God. It is an opportunity to learn something from God you might never know otherwise.
It’s no wonder it’s so difficult for people to let go of their anger and forgive when the Bible talks about anger as a series of what seems like impossible commands. To someone who is really angry or really hurt, obeying those commands seems not only difficult, but impossible. I mean, how do you just turn off an emotion?
I’ve always heard it said that the value you place on something is shown by what you are willing to give up for it. If something is really worth a lot to you, you’re willing to give up a lot to get it. God demonstrated the price he was willing to pay to redeem you by giving himself. There could be no higher price. What does that say about the value we have now?
Martha’s rebuke of her sister Mary, who sat at Jesus’ feet to listen to him instead of helping Martha serve their guests, revealed that Jesus was not the in right place in Martha’s heart. And so, her soul craved the significance that came from serving. Like Mary, when our soul is out of fellowship with Jesus, we are always craving more—which is why our radar is always on and searching for the next enticement.
Christianity often feels like more stuff to do. But according to Jesus, the core of the Christian experience is rest. Those most mature in Jesus are not those working hardest for him but those resting best in him. Until you learn to rest correctly in Christ, all of your work for Christ is going to be off. God created the world in six days and rested on the Sabbath. We should, too.
No light. No hope. That’s how Jeremiah felt, and maybe you can relate. Maybe you’ve also felt like God is not listening—or, even more, you wonder, “God, are you behind this terrible circumstance?” Jeremiah’s lament is an honest reflection of how Jeremiah feels, even if it doesn’t fully account for everything God was doing. When you cannot see or understand how God is working in your life—through your pain, even—it’s OK for you to be deeply honest with him.