Women Arise: Don’t Despise The Day of Affliction

November 18, 2022

Author: Andrea Maher

I don’t know about you, but everywhere I turn these days, I hear stories of devastating circumstances from wars to hurricanes to cancers to prodigals to death and the list goes on…

Painful times are part of living in a fallen world. This is a hard truth but worthy of a heavenly spotlight.

Did you know that God uses trials and tribulations to test, teach, and refine us? And He does this because He loves us. What?  How can anything that hurts be sent with love. That’s quite a daunting thought that our human nature can’t comprehend and vehemently resists. But it’s true.  

No one looks forward to hardships; we much prefer comfort and stability. When we are hit with a storm, it is our tendency to be thrown off course, disoriented, discouraged, and confused.  It’s painful and often debilitating, but it also causes us to realize how little control we have in this life. Like the rules of nature, the stress of a storm tests our resiliency. It is through the buffeting of conflict that we have the opportunity to grow stronger roots. Character grows best in hardship. (Not so thrilled about that concept—me either!). But God, our Father, like a good parent, desires our total reliance on Him.

I remember after a series of devastating circumstances in my life, I actually turned to God and said out loud, “God, You must surely hate me!” I knew that wasn’t true, but that’s how I felt. And sadly, it’s usually through hindsight that we recognize God’s loving and protective hand on us in the midst of dire times. But during it…no way. 

I often say that trials and troubles can either be buried by us, so no one can take a sneak peek at our lives in turmoil. Stay away people!  Or trials can bury us because we are too overwhelmed by the weight. I can’t get out of bed! Or our trials can be the mound that gives us a platform to bring glory to God and comfort to others. My mess becomes a message. Our hope lies in that when we know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we can rely on Him to carry us through the hard times. And He does! He brings His help in our greatest extremity, that His finger may plainly appear in our deliverance.

He then expects us to use our pain for others. “Blessed be the God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulations, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.  For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds by Christ” (2 Corinthians 1: 3-5).

It is the crushing of the trial that forces us to explore and experience His presence like no other time–and then we are obliged to share that comfort with others. When I lost my son, it was those who walked a similar path ahead of me that were able to minister encouragement to my heart. It is something I am now called to do for others. 

It is undeniable that hurting people need heartfelt and thoughtful encouragement that helps turn their hearts to Jesus. So, remember that it is through trials that the DNA of God can shine through as we gain fellowship with Him through our sufferings.

“That I may know Him…and the power of His resurrection…and the fellowship of His sufferings…being made conformable unto His death” (Philippians 3:10).

Jesus did not just live two thousand years ago and that’s the end of the story. NO! He’s a Person; a Power; a risen Savior. He’s alive!  And it is by His resurrection and sufferings that we understand the reality of a living God. Paul is encouraging us to not despise the difficulties that come our way for they are the times that we truly will understand the risen Christ through His intimate fellowship. That should remind us that when the day is dark, the waters deep, the outlook grim—you’ll see Jesus.  And He will be your anchor.

Women Arise

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