How to deal with suffering

It seems like people have really been going through in 2020. I completely understand, in some ways it feel like God set the world on fire.

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There is a lot in the bible about suffering. I have been through my fair share of suffering. When I search suffer on the blog 9 posts come up. I thought it might be time to do a recap since suffering is something we all at one point or another have to deal with.

For God is pleased when, conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment. Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you. 1 Peter 2:19‭-‬20 NLT

What is suffering? Suffering isn’t just something you don’t like, or a thing that bothers you. I believe suffering is the prolonged experience of physical pain or mental anguish.

Why do we suffer? We suffer for lots of reasons.

  • Sin. The choices we make, consequences for things we do or don’t do.
  • God wants to get the glory out of the situation.
  • God wants to test us and see that we put into practice everything we’ve been learning.
  • He wants to teach us patience and endurance because it produces Godly character.
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What should we do while we suffer? Two posts I did a few years ago would help. How to wait well and Pray for your enemies. You also can ask God to help you deal with it better. You can’t change anyone’s behavior but you can change how you respond to it. I know that seems impossible to pray for God to work something out in your favor but he can do anything. Not asking him is insulting to the power of God. He can do anything. He tells us to pray about everything so its not going to hurt to ask.

Remember. We are blessed that our suffering only lasts a little while, according to God. His little while and our little while may look different but its a good reminder that it is temporary and not meant to last forever. Sometimes knowing something is only temporary can help us endure just a little longer.

What happens after suffering is over? Double for your trouble. God never does anything without purpose. He can blesses us beyond what we can think or imagine. We typically get a blessing from God. Its not always the outcome that’s obvious on the outside but you have changed on the inside. That’s a huge gain. Change on the inside is something that lasts forever. Its something you can use when suffering happens again, because unfortunately it will.

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Prayer. Father God, I ask for patience, endurance, and peace until this time is over. God what do you want us to learn in this season? Are we re-doing something that you taught us before? Lord help me use my suffering for someone else’s good. I know we don’t just go through things for us, but for other people as well. Lord, I know you don’t waste a hurt, please continue to walk with my during this difficult time. Help me so that when suffering comes around again, that I remember that you are here to help me. I thank you that suffering does not last forever. In Jesus name, Amen.


Resources

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/five-truths-about-christian-suffering

https://www.christianity.com/wiki/christian-life/what-does-the-bible-say-about-suffering.html

https://bible.org/article/why-there-suffering

Broken

 

Broken-
having been fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order 

(of a person) having given up all hope; despairing.

I used to think I was broken using both definitions. That I was living a lie, that I was going out in the world and acting like everything was ok when it wasn’t. I felt like something inside of me was broken and could not be fixed. I had a hole in my heart that was irreparable. I tried a lot of this but nothing could fill it, not partying, not work, not my friends, not my husband, everything I was trying to do wasn’t working.

So in my last resort I turned to God. I’m glad I did. I learned I’m not broken. God made me this way. He has plans for me that are good. I didn’t always believe that or understand but I stayed in the word. It made a huge difference on my outlook in life. There is beauty in my brokenness. I wouldn’t have grown in my relationship with God if I wasn’t broken. Everyday is practice in reminding myself that I have to meet no one expectations but my own.

If you feel broken just know you don’t have to stay that way. There is a way out. You won’t be able to do it on your own, not long lasting. Getting out of your head and closer to God is the only long term solution and potentially seeing a therapist.

Updated: since I wrote the above words Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain have both committed suicide. This has sparked debate about what role does prayer and God specifically play in mental health. I think that God is our first resource in working on our mental health. Getting into your bible, prayer, fasting, meditating, it’s all an important part of the healing process. We can’t do it on our own and believing you can may be a fatal mistake. You need tools to overcome things you have been through. Seek help if you need it.

Fret

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Fret-be constantly or visibly worried or anxious.

Evildoers is harsher than what I’m thinking however, I’m not excluding anyone. People who cut corners, people who step on other people to get to the top, people who don’t geniuninely deserve the good things they are getting. I am talking about them. Its hard to watch people who just skate by in life get things when you work super hard and don’t get anything. It just doesn’t seem fair.

Looking on social media, you see people get famous for doing nothing, while you have been working your tail off and nobody know’s your name. Don’t feel discouraged. It won’t last though. When you rise fast, sometimes you crash fast as well.

Roots have to be established and when things happen too quickly you can’t set down any roots. Overcoming adversity is what helps you when trouble comes. Trouble will come and those people who are winning won’t be prepared.

God is allowing to them prosper for a little while but it won’t last. Continue to work hard. Hard work will last, not scheming and getting over,so don’t get discouraged.

Patience

Patience-the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

I haven’t really been writing this week because it’s been a pretty crappy week to say the least. It sucks but it happens. I spent time with my girls this weekend in a quick getaway which lifted my spirits a bit.

I saw the prompt of the day was Patience. Sheesh! I immediately felt that in my spirit and then the verse of the day from the Youverse bible is about patience.

I’m like ok God I get it. I’m working on it. I just feel like I’m always having to be patient. I’m listening to my girl Joyce (Meyer) and she said something that really struck me. Don’t try harder, get closer to God.

In bible study this week, Beth Moore talked about different types of patience.Patience with situations and patience with people. I find I moreso need patience with circumstances than people but Beth brought up a good point. God is testing your patience with people because he wants to bring something out of you that is holding you back from greatness.

God gives us patience in circumstances to see if we are going to act differently in the same situation. This really got me thinking. I don’t always act differently in the same situations. I am making more of an effort to do so after hearing this lesson.

I don’t want to keep going around the same mountain over and over. I want patience to do a good work in me until it is complete. Philippians 1:6.

Patience is definitely a challenge but there is good reason to wait well. I’m going to stop trying so hard to be patient and seek God more. That way, I am so focused on him that patience is my natural response things.

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Confession: I don’t know

Not knowing things is not something I’m comfortable with. I like to have a clear plan outlined with action steps. Things don’t always happen that way in a growing season. You only can do some much planting and then you have to sit back and let it grow.

I’m in a growing season right now and growing hurts. The term growing pains is definitely real. It hurts to be stretched more than you thought you could handle. It hurts to let things go that you thought would always be there.

Growing requires more faith than planting. I believe that because you don’t know how the seeds you planted are going to develop. You can’t see on the the outside how the seed is doing or if any growth is happening. You have to trust the process.

I don’t feel like I have been in a real season of growth in my life in a long time. I have had seasons of change but nothing to this extreme. I feel like I’m going through a metamorphosis. I feel like God is working on me about a lot of things. Sometimes I feel like it’s too much. Why do I have to go through all of is?

I feel like everything in my life is in transition and I am questioning a lot of things that I thought I knew for certain. I thought I was on a solid career path but where I see myself headed is different that what I originally envisioned. I am afraid. Am I ready for where God is leading me? I don’t know. I do take comfort in knowing that he won’t leave me on this journey and will give me what I need to be successful.

God is working on me to take me someplace but I don’t know where that is. I have to just walk beside him one step at a time. I am not going to run out in front of him or move to fast. I have done that before and the results were not great. I know I sound sad or down but I’m not. I’m restless. I sense something coming but I don’t know what is. I’m going to continue to keep the junk out so I can hear Gods voice and know it’s him. I’m going to pray and I’m going to wait. I’m going to continue to do meet God half way and I know he will make up the rest. I will have to just continue to be patient and trust the process.

How to wait well

I did not always wait well. I was angry at God and didn’t talk to him for a while. I was sad, bitter and jealous. I tried to bargain with God and as you can see none of that worked. I tried a lot of things but I never fully 100% threw my cards in with God. I finally decided that all the things I was or wasn’t doing, I wasn’t getting anywhere. I didn’t feel better and really I felt worse. Self care helped me a lot because it helped me narrow down how I was feeling and what I was going to do to change it.  I don’t look at self care as finding myself per se and more about being intentional about my relationship with God. I did need to block out somethings that were a distraction and start making different choices.

I had to really drill down and pay attention to the things God was telling me. Often times I feel like we have the answers but we are ignoring them because we want the answer to be something other than what it is. I read a lot of books. Two that were super helpful to me were, How to hear the Voice of God by Joyce Meyer and Wait and See by Wendy Pope.

wendy pope         joyce meyer how to hear

 

I wanted to make sure that the promise I heard from God was from Him and not from me. Knowing his voice is really key. We can put things on God that aren’t really from him. I started to read my bible more so I could find stories of situations that were similar to mine, that helped too. I also wanted to read my bible more so that I could recognize Gods voice. You know a person when you spend time with them, reading or listening to your bible is the easiest way to spend time with God. I started to notice some changes in how I felt, random verses would start popping in my head. I listened to more gospel music, so random songs would pop in my head but they would make sense. The verse or song would be relevant to what I was going through.

If you have been reading this blog you see that I have been trying to do more of what pleases God and less of what pleases me. I spent so many years begging God for a baby and not being content in the space that I was in, I’m sure he was tired of me. I am so glad that God is not like man.  I was sick of myself! I didn’t want to pray about it anymore especially when I knew that there were things I needed to work on. Recently, I have been working on getting myself off my mind as much as possible. If I am not thinking about me, then I am not thinking about what I don’t have. There is no room to complain or be sad if I am putting my energy towards something else. I have found things to fulfill me in the mean time, which has helped a lot. This blog has made a big difference. I have been volunteering at church more, something I haven’t done in years.

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I believe God’s word is true. I know that this will happen, but I don’t know when. I understand that faith is not about what you can see, that wouldn’t be faith. Hebrews 1:1. I know that God isn’t trying to hurt me by making me wait but trying to grow me into the person he wants me to be. 2 Peter 3:9.  I also know that is desire is from him because I have also asked him to take this desire away if it isn’t what he wants from me. His word backs all this up. I am so glad I have a reference I can look back on to make sure I am not crazy.

I am not sure what you are waiting on, it could be a job, a man/woman, a house, a new car, insert your thing. I’m not going to tell you its not going to suck to wait because that would be a lie. I will tell you that it will get better. If you decide to go in with God 100% you will not be disappointed. You will feel better but you have to stick with it. Just when you get tired and you don’t think you can do anymore, God will give you a boost. I know that to be true because I have been there. You don’t have to suffer alone..