I give up. As hard as I try, I cannot stretch my calendar to include a few more days in this week. As I said at the beginning of the week, we’re tackling a subject that cannot be contained in an entire library. But I have at least two more things that I must ponder with you. And so, I’m going to break one of my own rules and carry this week’s meditations one more day into next week. I apologize if it throws your entire week into chaos.
If hard times and struggles create a training ground for us, what can we hope to gain by our pain? When we go through dark days without a ray of light; when we lie awake at night because the mind will not rest; when we look everywhere and cannot find relief or answers or help; when we bleed and break and cry—yet still, the children of God have this hope: God does bring good things out of even the most terrifying wilderness.
Scripture tells us of some of these things, and there is so much here that we could go on for months. For now, I just want to point out some of the promises we have.
James 1:2. Testing produces perseverance in us. And perseverance will make us “perfect and complete.” Wow. I know I’m far from that point of completeness. I also know I want it.
1 Peter 1:6-7. When your faith remains strong through testing, it will bring you “much praise and honor” when Jesus Christ and His heavenly kingdom appear.
Psalm 66:8-12. God purifies us in hard times, but he brings us through fire and flood, to a “place of great abundance.” (I want to know that place. I want to live there.)
2 Corinthians 6:10. We have spiritual riches and joy in spite of heartache.
Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 11-18. We learn humility. We learn that it is God and God alone who brings us through the wilderness to a place of abundance. We learn to depend on Him instead of being too proud of our own resources.
Romans 5:3-4. Problems and trials help us develop endurance which in turn creates godly character in us and increases our trust and hope in God.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 and Hebrews 2:18. We have a greater experience of Christ’s presence, power, and help
Daniel 11:35. Persecution refines us. Purifies us. Even cleanses us.
Psalm 31:7-8. God cares about our anguish, our suffering opens us to see His unfailing love, and through it all, He keeps us in a safe place.
Matthew 5:4 and Isaiah 61:3. His comfort comes to those who mourn.
2 Thessalonians 3:2-3. He strengthens us and guards us.
Hebrews 10:12-13 and Romans 8:28. God uses everything that happens to develop godliness in us.
1 Peter 5:10. God does not abandon us is our hard times. He will restore, support, and strengthen us and put our feet on solid ground once again.
For every child of God going through a hard time, there’s hope in Scripture, laid out in plain words and speaking directly to your soul. I have my favorites; they’re life-lines I hold onto when I think I’m sinking. (One is the last one above, 1 Peter 5:10. Sometime, I’ll share my story about that passage.)
May you find your bridges of hope too.
My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise renews my life.