Weeping with those…

Have you heard the Bible verse that says we are to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice?

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

Romans 12:15

For awhile now, it’s been hard to watch all the people I know get engaged and married after I had that very thing taken from me. I struggled to feel joy for them and it was hard not to be bitter. But time really does do wonders. Though there is still some pain as I watch them get the things I desperately desire, I am comforted in knowing that that is their story and my story is different. God’s plans for me are different and in his timing I will get there too.

But this actually isn’t what I want to write about today. Today I want to write about the other part of that verse. Weep with those who weep. Last week I experienced what it truly means to weep and mourn with someone. I will not go into detail about her story, but a dear friend of mine was in the process of choosing to follow God and end her relationship with a guy she had been seriously dating for a year. Oh how my heart hurt for her. I felt her pain, like literally felt it. Only a couple of months ago I was feeling the same raw pain of heartbreak. Seeing her go through it brought the memory of my pain back. It was like daggers in my heart. I was too overwhelmed to do anything but just hug her and cry with her. I cried with her because I knew all to well what she was feeling. I knew how much it hurt and I cried because it was the only thing both of us could do.

I felt like I was able to relate to her in a way that no one else could. I was able to tell her from experience that there is hope. That even thought the pain is hard and it hurts oh so much, there will be healing. That in time the hurt will subside and God will be faithful. I could tell her that choosing to follow God will lead to the biggest blessing because God is truly all that matters in life. I prayed hard for this girl and I began praying the same things for her that I was asking for in my time of brokeness. I will never forget the moment, before saying goodbye, we clasped each others hands, looked into each others tear stained eyes, and talked about the glories of heaven and the day when there will be no more pain.

I am so amazed at how God was able to use my broken heart and the pain I walked through to bring comfort to this girl. God never ceases to amaze me in how He truly is working all things out for His good and His glory. Even the timing of my healing journey was significant. Because I was already a few months on the path of healing my story of finding healing was able to be a testimony of hope for this girl as she entered into feeling broken. I just can’t get over how overwhelmed and thankful I am to my God that he was able to use my pain to be a beacon of comfort and hope for my dear friend.

My friends, God is always working and I am realizing that sometimes He brings us through a very hard trial so that we might help others who are in the same trial. To truly weep with someone who weeps is a beautiful ack of love and trust. It is a bonding experience that brings unity and hope to two hurting souls. It is a testimony of the fact that even the hard days have a purpose in God’s good plan. If you are going through something hard, maybe God will bring someone into you life who is in a similar place. Maybe God is preparing you to be the hope that they need to keep on trusting. Weeping with those who weep is a beautiful thing and I pray that you will also have the chance to experience God’s goodness though it.

Healing Happens

I have a message for you, healing happens, that’s all, thank you.

Truly that is all I want to get on here and say, but I’ll elaborate a little more. A few days ago (last Saturday to be exact) I was driving into town. Not even two minutes into driving down the road I was suddenly overwhelmed by a feeling of healing. I almost began crying, it was that powerful. I honestly don’t know how to describe it to you. It was like something broke down in my heart and my heart felt normal again. For that moment I felt like my pain wasn’t there. It was gone and all I could think about was God’s love covering me.

I’ve been hurting for so long and I think when you hurt for a long time sometimes you just get used to pain always being a part of your life. You have good days where you feel better, but there is still hurt hiding under the surface. I feel like I’ve kinda just accepted the fact that this was gonna be my life. I was going to have to learn how to live with the pain always being a part of me. But in one amazing, God filled moment, I felt healing touch my heart in such an amazing way. I truly believe God’s spirit had come down and filled up my car.

I’m not saying that all my pain is miraculously all gone after that moment. But I can tell you that something changed. I feel like I’m viewing my life now with healing eyes. If that makes any sense? The hurt and regrets are still there but it doesn’t hurt as much. In a way it’s like the wound on my heart is finally not bleeding anymore. It’s healed up, I can finally take the band-aid off, but there is still a scar left.

God put these words in my heart while I was driving – “healing happens”. And then God made it clear that I needed to share those words. Not exactly sure what to do or how to share those words, I grabbed my phone began sharing this message through my instagram account and by texting a close friend. And here I am writing this message and sharing it with you now.

Guys, I am going to say it again, healing happens! It takes time, but it happens. It’s been almost four months of hurting for my heart to get here and I know that as time continues I’ll continue to heal. Whatever you are going through, keep on trusting in God. Keep on following God and choosing to obey Him down every path had puts before you. There will be hard days but the hard days won’t compare to the overwhelming feeling of love that surrounds your heart when healing finally comes. As you are walking through your storm, let this be the anthem that keeps you strong – healing is going to happen. If you have experienced His amazing and supernatural healing then let us praise our God who loves us so much and gives us healing!

Triggers

Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever feel completely better.

I had another rough weekend. It really was just a normal weekend, but sadness kept seeping up into my heart until it was too much. I crashed and I cried. I felt like there was this huge weight on my shoulders from pasting a smile on my face each day and ignoring all the pain that is still in my heart.

This week I realized how quickly the feelings can come back when it is triggered by something. A walk into Home Depot reminding me of the hours I spent with him in that store. A trip to the climbing gym alone, which used to be our favorite activity together. An outing with my church’s college group and one of the guys turns and for a short second he is the spitting image of him. Accomplishing something exciting in my life and realizing I can’t share it with him anymore. Scrolling through social media and seeing pictures of not just one, but three people I know getting married.

Some days I wonder if he is moving on with his life too. Guys, I’ll be honest with you, on my lowest days, the temptation to text him is so real. I hate these constant triggers that keep popping up in my life to remind me of all the things I miss about him. I know I’m on the right path, but it’s not an easy path.

Sometimes I wonder what am I supposed to do? It would be foolishness for me to hide away in my room and avoid all the triggers that bring back hard memories. No, I know that even though these triggers happen, I need to still go out. I need to keep living and make new memories that can replace the old ones. But it’s still hard and my heart is still so raw. I think I understand now why heart wounds take forever to heal, and oftentimes never completely heal.

But I don’t want this to be a sad post. Even though I’ve been feeling a bit discouraged, I don’t want to discount all the good God has been doing in my life. He has brought so many amazing opportunities into my life this summer to serve Him. I’m going to be so busy serving him and working with a few camp ministries. I am continuing to be overwhelmed each day by God’s continued faithfulness to me.

In my Bible study we just finished up the study of Joseph. It may seem strange, but my favorite part of the story of Joseph was when after he had been raised to power in pharaoh’s kingdom and he said that God had made him forget the pain of his youth. Oh how my heart latched onto that verse. I’ve read the story of Joseph so many times and just skipped over that verse. But now I am finding myself repeating that verse to myself over and over. This morning I even prayed that verse over my situation. I know that just like Joseph, someday I’ll be able to say the same thing about my life. I long for that day when I can say that all this pain was worth it and that the blessings God has for me is enough to make me forget all of my hurt.

Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” The second son he named Ephraim and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”

Genesis 41:51-52

I know that as time goes on I will begin to make new memories. I’ll make new friends. I’ll create new experiences to replace the old ones. As time goes on, the triggers won’t hurt so much. It’s still early in my healing process. I know I still have more sad days to come. But oh how thankful I am for all my good days and all the joy that I have continue to find in God.

I Am Joseph

What is the right response to suffering?

This question has been on my mind a lot lately and God has been so gracious each time my heart has a question like this one to guide me to the right answer and example in scripture. In my Bible study, we are still working our way through Genesis. I’ve talked about Abraham, Job, Jacob, and even David on this blog. Are you ready for the next Bible character that I’m finding myself in. If you know your bible, you may be able to guess which one comes next. It’s Joseph! And oh boy, what an amazing story is Joseph’s story. It’s a story full of unfair and unjust suffering, but one that is overflowing with God’s goodness and good purposes!

I’m not gonna lie to you, I’ve kinda created a new little saying that I keep telling myself each day. I’ve been saying “I am Joseph”. As I read the story of Joseph and look at my life, I keep finding myself saying “I am Joseph”. In my Bible study, we were discussing the life of Joseph and the sudden onset of suffering he faced. Joseph went from being the most favored/spoiled child to becoming a slave all in less than a day. I was thinking to myself, “wow, I wonder what it must have felt like to have everything and then lose everything”. Then I literally felt like I had my eyes opened up to the fact that, that is my story. I saw an almost identical pattern in a way my life has been these past few months. Only months ago I was so happy. I was finally on the verge of all my dreams coming true. I was engaged and in the process of starting a life with someone and oh it was bliss. But then it ended so fast. One thing after another came to light and before i knew it, it was all gone.

I AM JOSEPH. I can feel the same hurt and pain and disappointment that he must have felt. All his dreams, gone. All his family and friends gone. His life suddenly taking a completely different route and an unwanted move to a new location. (Okay, wow, there really are a lot of similarities here, granted I still have my family and friends, but I moved to a new area and have been struggling to get connected so I do relate in a way to the loneliness and I do in a way also feel like I lost a family because how close I became to his family).

There really is not a lot of good happening in Joseph’s story, but if you keep reading the story of Joseph there is something very encouraging. It is said at least three times in the book of Genesis that God was with Joseph. In each season of suffering Joseph faced, Joseph had every right to complain and despair. Maybe he did at times, but the Bible never mentions it. Instead Joseph rose to the top of every situation he found himself in. He was greatly blessed and God gave him success in all he did. Even as a slave Joseph rose to high favor. And let me tell you something, you cannot rise to favor if all you ever do is complain about how bad your luck has been.

I imagine Joseph must have known that God was with him. How else could he have had the faith to keep on going without despairing. His pain had to have been great. And I’m not saying he no longer felt the pain and hurt that his brothers inflicted on him. Later in Genesis Joseph says “God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” So obviously, his pain during this time was constantly on his mind. But what Joseph shows us here is how to rightly respond when suffering happens and we have no control over it. We must get up and keep going. We have the choice to either wallow in our self pity and despair, or make the best out of whatever situation we find ourselves in. I’ve gotta believe that when we choose the latter, God truly blesses it, just like he blesses Joseph.

God blessed Joseph and gave him favor in each place he found himself in. In Potiphar’s house, he rose to leadership. In prison, he rose to leadership. Then, lastly, in Pharaoh’s kingdom, he rose to leadership. None of these places Joseph found himself in were places he wanted to be. In fact, if he had the choice to go back to his family, I’m sure he would take it without even looking back. I can tell you that there are definitely times in my life that I wish I could just go back to those happy days and forget about the pain. But I have no control over the place I’m in right now which is why Joseph’s story has been so encouraging to me. I’m learning from Joseph’s story that God’s will for me in this season is to keep on trusting Him and to find ways to keep on serving Him even while I’m hurting.

I also want to talk a bit about the end of Joseph’s story. As I’m sure you are familiar with how in the story of Joseph we get to see how all his suffering would one day make sense and play a role in God’s amazing plan. God used Joseph to be the means of saving many nations, including Israel, from a devastating famine. Joseph became a great leader in Egypt, a wise man who was full of integrity. But if he became a ruler in Egypt right away without first spending years as a slave and in prison, I don’t believe he’d be the same ruler. God was using the hard seasons of suffering in his life to teach him how to be humble and also how to lead and manage other people. When God’s time was right, Joseph was given one of the most coveted positions in all Egypt. Truly, Joseph was finally able to say that God had taken all his sorrow away.

I think that it’s so encouraging to see how God was using Joseph’s suffering to position him in the right place at the right time to bring provision to God’s people. God was preparing Joseph for something greater. And that is what God is doing when we suffer! God is preparing us for something bigger, better, and greater. God is using all the suffering in our life for his good purposes. Often times, like Joseph, we can’t see the whole picture of what God is doing while we are in the middle of it. Maybe all we see is the pain and unending waiting. But we can hold onto the truth that God is going to work all things out our for good and God will be with us, as He was with Joseph.

So yes, I am Joseph! And maybe as you look at your life, you are Joseph too. Maybe God has brought sudden or unjust suffering into your life. The big question to ask yourself then is “what is my response?” Remember, it’s okay to feel hurt and pain. In fact, if you don’t feel any pain as you suffer I’d be worried that something is wrong with you. What really matters the most is what you do with the hurt? Do you dwell on it and let it lead you to despair. Or do you get up and keep on chasing after God and serving him in the place your at, trusting that God is going to do something great through it.

Let us hold onto the truth that God is always with us through every trial we face. Every season of suffering has a purpose that we may not be able to see until the time is right. But we can know this, God is taking us down these hard paths because he wants to prepare us and make us into something greater! God’s purposes for your life are so much greater than whatever it is you have lost, so let’s be like Joseph and keep on suffering well in this life!

Perspective

Do you need a perspective change?

The past week was harder for me for some reason. I had many emotional days. All I wanted to do was lie in bed and cry. Multiple times I did just that. And I was feeling so good the week before. I was finding more joy in the simple things and not finding myself as sad. So why did I all of a sudden take a few steps back into despair and start feeling sad again?

I think I have figured some of it out. On Sunday it all made sense to me. After worshipping the Lord on Sunday and spending time praying and journaling, I realized a sudden change in my attitude. Nothing changed in my circumstances, but I suddenly felt more joy and I had a peace that I didn’t have before. What did I do that made me start feeling better? I simply stopped thinking about me and started thinking more about God.

I’m actually a bit ashamed at how me-focused I let myself become the past week. I didn’t feel good and I missed him so much. I know that it is normal for me to have these feelings and I know that I’m not going to ever stop missing him. But I was letting myself narrow in only on how I felt. I was focusing on my feelings and my hurt so much that I found myself paralyzed by the pain. I was no longer able to see the bigger picture or God’s promises to me.

That wasn’t a fun place to be. I’m so thankful that Sunday came along. On Sunday, worshiping brought the blinders of my eyes and I saw again of God’s goodness to me. It was refreshing for my weary soul to focus on God and being able to find rest in God. For the first time in a while, God’s joy returned to me.

This experience reminds me that when I focus on myself and my troubles, that is all I will see. When I ignore God’s goodness and choose to give into my worries and fears, I find myself trapped in a cycle of damaging emotions. I need a perspective change in order to be set free. I need to be living my life with eye’s that are focused on God. When I look to God, the hurt is still there, but I can finally see it in its proper perspective. I see how my pain is nothing compared to God’s goodness towards me. I see that God loves me so much and has good things instore for me. I see that God is going to work all things out for His good.

Where in your life do you need a perspective change? When you begin to feel overwhelmed, stop and look to see where your focus is. Is it on you or on God? It’s amazing how the simple act of shifting our focus back to God can encourage and return us back to joy. As we go through life, looking to God is the only cue to our hurting and weary soul. We need less of us and more of God.

He must become greater; I must become less.

John 3:30

Also before I end this post, one last little tip I’m learning that really helps get the focus back on God is listening to worship music. To often I just let my playlist play. It will play christian songs and some songs that aren’t christian. But when I start playing worship songs in the car and while I’m working it helps my heart stay focused on God. So try jamming to praise music when your feeling down and see where it takes you 😉

Somedays

Somedays hurt more than others

Somedays I just want to lie in bed a forget about everything. Forget about how lonely I am. Forget about all the memories that are no longer a part of my life. But how can I forget all these memories when I still want to have them.

Somedays I wonder how I can feel so happy and full of hope one day and then the next depression hits me. I miss him everyday, but today I miss him more for some reason. Nothing triggered it. I just miss him. And all I want to do is lie on my bed and dream about the past and make up a new future.

I don’t know what good this does to me. But I do know that somedays the hurt is too much and I can’t make myself do anything else. And those days are okay. Those days are a part of life. Those are the days I need to cry out to God for strength. Those are the days that I learn to truly rest in my Savior’s arms.

Today has been one of those days.

The only thing that is getting me through today is the promises I know God has for me. I came across this letter I wrote to myself from God two years ago, on February 5, 2019. It speaks to my heart today and gives me the strength I need to get up and out of my bed. How did I know two years ago that this letter I wrote would still be speaking to my heart today.

My Child,

I can see that you are confused.  I don’t give you the things you ask for because I have something better for you.  You can’t see the whole picture yet.  There are some things I am doing that you won’t understand in your life.  But you can know that I am always working for your good.  My plans are always for you because I love you.  One day it will all make sense, but not yet.  I know all your heart’s desires and I want to give you more, in my perfect timing you will see.

Your Heavenly Father, God

Choosing to Rest

How important is rest?

I feel like I have been running nonstop. I desperately need a break but I just keep going. I’ve been busy, so busy, and I hate to admit it, but I’m finding that I’m getting addicted to this busyness. When I keep myself busy it numbs the pain. I don’t have time to think about how much my situation hurts and the wounds that are still bleeding inside of me. So staying busy has become my answer.

But last night, I felt tired, physically and spiritually worn out. I spent some time alone in my room journaling and enjoying the stillness. And I realized that I need things to change, I need stop this go, go, go mentality, I need to take a break and slow down. When I am busy, I forget to spend time with the Lord. I begin to create habits of ignoring God in the still moments of my day because of the fear that in those moments I will also awaken more hurt. To be honest, now that I write it out, I am actually quite ashamed that I have let myself get so busy that I don’t seek out God’s voice like I was doing about a month ago.

I’ll be the first one to tell you that staying busy is good. When your heart is heavy and hurting it is not good to lie around doing nothing. Staying busy has been my therapy and it keeps my mind focused on moving on and off of the past. There is even a proverbs about how idle hands breed trouble. But being busy can also be dangerous if we don’t balance it out with rest. If we don’t have the proper mix of resting in the Lord and being still and quiet then it won’t be long before we begin to feel overwhelmed.

Why is rest important? Rest is important because rest is how we recharge and refocus our lives on God. It is in the times when we are quiet and still that God speaks to us and tells us what his will is for us. Rest keeps us on track with God’s plan for our lives. Sometimes we need physical rest from the weight of the world and other times we need spiritual rest. Spiritual rest can be found when we take the time to slow down, read God’s word, talk to God, and seek his presence in the stillness.

I have decided that even though I often don’t want to, I need to make an effort each day to spend time in quiet with God. Even if it’s as simple as spending ten minutes of quiet with God in the morning before my day starts, or quietly journaling before going to bed. It may even be going on a long peaceful walk and talking to God as I walk. Having these habits of rest in my day will help me to stay focused on God and keep me from getting burned out.

I will admit to you all that I’m not looking forward to the pain that I know will come back when I slow down. But the only way to heal is by giving that hurt to Jesus and I can’t give it to him until I learn to truly rest in his presence every day. So here’s to making rest a priority in my life again. To slowing down and taking moments in my busy life to seek God’s presence in the stillness.

Stop Fighting

I just want to fight

I don’t want to give in. I don’t want to make these changes. I don’t want to go down this long path of waiting. I want to fight. I want to fight to have my way.

Why is it that even though I am doing what I know is right, I feel far from being at rest. Surrendering is not easy. One day I’m at peace and happy and the next day I’m struggling. There’s a part of me that wants to fight hard as I go into this unexpected season of my life. I want to kick my legs and scream at myself. I want to feel bad for myself for how things turned out as if I somehow could have changed it. I feel like a little toddler having a temper tantrum at God because I am not happy with how things turned out.

But where does this get me? Where does fighting ever get us when we know what God wants us to do? Fighting with God is a waste of our energy because God is sovereign over all things. We can fight all we want to, but God’s will is still gonna be done. If anything, our fighting and unwillingness to surrender peacably is only going to wear us out and prolong our waiting.

So why do I feel this way? It’s gotta be my sinful flesh telling me to fight. I think of the chapter in Romans where paul shared how he does what he doesn’t want to do, and doesn’t do what he wants to do. I can relate to this internal struggle Paul is having. I know what I should do but my flesh says “no, no, no… “.

But the truth is, I’m only able to find peace and rest when I decide that I’m done fighting to have my way. I can’t change the things God is doing in my life. God has me on this path for a reason so the best I can do is accept it. I can’t go back in time and change things so the best thing I can do is move on. All I can do is do the next right thing and see where God takes me as I’m waiting. It’s only when I choose to stop fighting that God can work in my life.

The other day I was sitting by the river thinking about all these things. I decided I was done fighting. I reached the end of my rope. It was pointless to keep wanting things to be different. So I decided that I the only thing I can do right now is move on. I need to keep on going with my life while I leave the work to God.

I’ll probably still struggle a bit with my urge to fight, because of my flesh. But I’m realizing surrendering our life to God is a process of continually giving Him control and trusting Him even when we don’t like the place we’re in. It’s a hard walk, but what would this life be without these struggles that bring us closer to our dear Savior.

Better

It’s ok not to be ok

It’s okay to hurt, it’s okay to feel the way I feel right now. It’s okay to miss him. I don’t know why I keep telling myself I have to be strong, I have to put on a smile and act like everything is ok. Because everything isn’t ok. I cried again today, the first time in a couple of days and it felt good. It felt good to let the pain back in and let the memories return. It felt real.

Things have to get worse before they get better, right? I know the pain I’m in now won’t last forever, but some days it feels like it will never leave. When I watch everyone around me living their life and getting blessing after blessing, I can’t help but be sad. Maybe even a little upset. Oh my heart cries; What about me God? Did you forget about me? Do you still care about me and my life? Why did you take all these things away from me? It hurts, oh it hurts so much to see others receiving the good things from God that I desperately desire.

I’m scared to hope, scared to think about the future. I don’t know what God is doing and even though I know he is doing something great and good in my life, it’s hard. But I hold onto the fact that God is faithful. No matter how hard this path may be, it’s the path I’m supposed to be on and it’ll get better. This pain won’t last forever.

I heard this song today for the first time on the playlist I had on. It was so encouraging to my hurting heart. I guess I just like the idea right now that things are gonna get better. There is hope, change does happen, and God is always going to be with me.

It’s ok if you’re not ok
It’s not gonna end this way
Today is the day to change
It’s the time, it’s the place

All that you’ve locked inside
Is ready to come alive
Embrace your great design
Now’s the time, lift your eyes

I don’t have to fear ’cause I trust his love
I know where my help, where my help comes from

It’s gonna get better
It’s gonna get better

There is no mistake I could ever make
That you’d let erase all you’ve done for me

The longer I live I see
Not a past that you can’t redeem
I know my identity
Failures won’t define me

I don’t have to fear ’cause I trust his love
I know where my help, where my help comes from

I’ve walked through the valley, the shadow
I’m ready for all you have for me
All you have for me
No matter where you lead as long as you’re with me
I’m where I need to be

It’s gonna get better

Counted Worthy

I have been thinking a lot about the story of Job.

The story of Job is right in the middle of the Bible. It’s one of the most interesting stories in the Bible because in it we get to see behind the scenes where Satan is talking to God and this helps us understand why we go through trials. If you haven’t read the story of Job, I recommend reading it, just for curiosity sake. It’ll intrigue you.

The book of Job begins with telling us all about Job and how he was blessed beyond imagination. And he also was a man who loved and obeyed God. But then the story gets interesting as we get to see how Satan comes to God and has a request to make about Job;

One day the angels[a] came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan[b] also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”
Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” (Job 1:6-12)

Wow, Satan has noticed Jobs faith and obedience to God and Satan is so bold to say that Job only worships God so devotedly because of all the ways God has blessed him. It is a honest assumption. I could look at Jobs life and make a similar conclusion. What’s amazing is that God actually lets Satan take everything away from Job. If you keep reading you will see how one by one, Job loses everything. All his possessions and all his children, gone. And then we get to see Jobs amazing and humble response. His response to all of these hardships is;

20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
    and naked I will depart.[c]
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
    may the name of the Lord be praised.”
22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. (Job 1:20-22)

To lose everything and still be praising God, now that is a faith to aspire too. It didn’t make Satan happy. Satan went right back to God with another request. This time he asked to take away Job’s health and inflict him with diseases. And God allowed it again! Job lost his health and he became very sick with sores and boils all over his skin. Job’s own wife and his friends were even telling him to curse God. But this was his response;

His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”
10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish[b] woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. (Job 2:9-10)

Again, I am just overwhelmed at how Job is able to still praise God and glorify God when he lost everything. Job was a righteous man. He didn’t sin or do anything that caused him to lose all these things. He wasn’t suffering because of the consequences of sin or his choices. Job was never told the reason why God allowed him to be afflicted with so much suffering. I can’t imagine what thoughts and feelings must have been going through Jobs head. He trusted and followed God all his life and this is what God dealt him. This must have been very discouraging. Yet Job didn’t complain, he still praised God and refused to despair at his unfortunate circumstances.

What is my sufferings compared to the suffering of Job. My heartache is small and insignificant to losing everything. Yet I can’t say that my natural response has been to praise God. Like Job, I feel as if I have done all that I could to follow God and obey God. It’s always been my hearts desire to please God. I didn’t sin or do anything to deserve the pain in my life right now. I have cried out to God and asked him why. Why did he do this to me when I all I wanted to do was follow him? The biggest question that has been on my mind with my life right now is why God would let me get so close to my hearts desire and give me all these good things, like a new family whom I love dearly and a new home that I was beginning to make my own, just to take them all away. I don’t know the answer.

But like Job, I know that God truly is the one who gives and takes away. God is the one calling all the shots and He doesn’t always tell us why he does things or allows us to walk through the fire. And like Job’s story, suffering and pain is not always a result of us sinning, it happens to the most blameless of people. I think that suffering often happens to those whose faith in God is great because God wants to test their faith and show to the world how great their love and devotion is. This is what he did with Job. God knew Job was strong enough to lose everything and still praise Him. God knew that Job would be faithful to him even when his friends urged him to curse God and die. God wanted to make a spectacle of Jobs great faith for everyone to see and also to kick Satan in the back. God looked down and he counted Job worthy enough to walk through the fire. Worthy enough to suffer for the cause of God’s plan.

I can’t help but wonder, is this what God is doing with my life? When I suffer things and lose things simply because I am choosing to follow God, is it because God is counting me worthy? Have I been counted worthy enough by God to walk through the all trials he has put before me? Maybe God has given me greater pain and heartache because he knows I can take it and I can still praise him through it, like Job did. Is there a similar scene going on in heaven, with Satan and God when it comes to my life? I can’t help but get this feeling like God is using this in my life to be a spectacle to those around me, to those watching. As I walk through the fire, God is my strength, and as others are watching they will see my faith. Oh what an amazing perspective this is to have! I suffer because God has counted me worthy! I can lift up praises to my God even though my heart aches because oh what joy it gives my heart to know that God looked down and saw that I was worthy enough to walk through this hard season of waiting. This is the reason why I can praise my God during this confusing and painful time in my life!

But there also one more aspect to Jobs story that should be added before I finish. If you jump to the end of the book of Job you will get to see how God restores all of the things Job lost, and God restored it back twice as before;

the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. 11All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the Lord had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver a and a gold ring.
12The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part.  (Job 42:10-12)

God never does tell Job why he went through all those trials. But after Job remained faithful to God during the hard times, God gave everything back. Just like with Job, God doesn’t tell us the why behind every trial we go through. But God promises to be with us and promises to never take us through something we can’t bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). And I also believe that just like Job, when we are faithful to God during these hard times, God will bless us beyond our imagination at the end. Even if those blessings don’t come until we are in heaven one day, it’ll be worth it. Because to be counted worthy to endure suffering and pain for following God is a reward enough in itself.

If you are enduring any form of suffering or trial, I pray that this story in the Bible can encourage your heart as much as it does mine. It is a reminder to keep on praising God, to keep on choosing God, because God is using this pain in your life for his own purposes. Even if God never tells us ‘the why’ behind the things that take place in our life, we can trust that His ways are always best. Keep on following and walking with God through your hard seasons and know that you will be blessed beyond imagining when you get to the end. Rejoice that God has counted you worthy to walk through the fire and suffer so that He might be glorified through your example.

Lastly, I again want encourage you to read the story of Job and let the story of Job’s faith encourage you. And I wanted to share my favorite verse from Job. This verse is such an encouragement to my heart that God’s ways are always best and we can trust God even when we don’t understand what He’s doing.

I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

Job 42:2