In this broken world, it can be hard to find joy when we experience pain and suffering.
When the tears are real and the pain of sorrow cuts through the depths of our hearts like a knife, the last thing we may feel like doing is holding true to our faith and praising God.
But God’s Word promises us that when we suffer for Him, it will produce an endurance and even a deep joy that we couldn’t otherwise experience without going through the pain.
Although suffering does produce joy, let’s be honest – it’s not fun.
Being pruned by our Father hurts and sometimes we might even want to die because the pain cuts so deep.
All throughout the Bible, God’s Word tells us of those who suffered through moments of utter despair – like Job, who actually cried out to God and asked, “Why did I not perish at birth; why did I not die as I came from the womb?” Job 3:11
But it is in these moments that we realize we truly can do nothing in our own strength and only God can hold us together.
When life is going good and things are flawless, we can be tempted to think that it is of our own doing in “keeping it all together.”
We can swell up with pride and even come to “forget” to pray to God as we should, thinking we don’t need Him.
But all it takes is one tragedy – whether the death of a loved one, an emotional divorce, or the diagnosis of a terminal illness to bring us to our knees in desperation of something more.
As we know from God’s Word, Jesus suffered to the point that He actually sweat blood.
He understands our suffering and He is with us when we suffer.
When we suffer, we must remember that He is the vine and we are the branches.
And in order for our branches to bear spiritual fruit, they must be pruned – again and again.
Yes, it’s painful to have our flesh burned off, but it’s necessary in order to become more like Him.
Jesus promises if we remain in Him and keep His commandments, just as He showed us how to do with His life, then His joy will be in us and complete.
“I have told you these things so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” – John 15:11
It’s only when we get to the other side of suffering that we can look back and see how God’s divine hand was moving in the situation.
So brothers and sisters, I want to challenge you to seek joy while you are suffering, having faith that your suffering is not meaningless and is not for nothing.
God is doing something amazing in you and preparing you for eternal glory.
The enemy will want us to believe God has abandoned us on our darkest days, but He hasn’t.
“Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
The next time you find yourself in a dark season without being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel just yet, take courage and know God is with you in your pain and your suffering has a purpose.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” — John 3:16-17
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