I received some bad news last week. I’m not going to discuss the news in detail because this is neither the time nor place. Suffice it to say, this was the kind of news that raised a lot of why questions for me. Why did this happen to me, to my group of friends? Why would God allow this to happen?
At the time, I didn’t have a good answer to those questions.
I still don’t.
Listen, there are whole books written by theologians about the problem of suffering. It’s certainly not going to be solved by someone in her twenties writing a short devotional.
However, I was reminded of something while dealing with these questions. In the midst of dark times, sometimes why isn’t the right question. Sometimes a better question is how. How are we as Christians going to deal with these trials?
Some say that trials draw us closer to God. I think that is partially accurate. Trials can draw us closer to God, if that’s how we choose to handle them. Trials can also do the opposite, push us away from God. Which path we take depends largely on us. You see, God is there for us no matter how we choose to handle things. As written in Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” It is actually up to us to decide whether we’ll turn toward God during difficult times, or, in our anger and hurt, push him away.
I’m not going to say God gives us trials to draw us closer to him. I think it’s more complicated than that. However, I do believe God can bless us through any trial, helping us grow in our relationship with him if we allow him.
Our world can be very beautiful, but it can also be very cold, very dark, very ugly. This is the end result of God’s perfect creation being corrupted by sin. We will all face hard times and hurt during our lives – it’s the nature of our existence. As we brace ourselves for the future, it’s good to remember that even though we don’t always know why bad things happen, as Christians we know how we will get through these trials because we know who is looking out for us.
When do you feel closer to God – when life is running smoothly, or when times are difficult?
How do you respond when facing difficult problems? Do you draw closer to God, or do you push him away?
Make a list of friends whom you can talk to and pray with when times are difficult.
If you’re currently going through something difficult, take this opportunity to stop and pray. Be honest with God about what you’re struggling with and how you’re feeling.
Heavenly Father, thank you for always being there for us, in the good times AND the dark times. Please, provide comfort for those who are hurting, wisdom for those who are lost, and strength for those who feel weak. In the midst of suffering, help us turn to you instead of turning away. May your will be done. Amen.
This post was written by Payton Lechner. Payton Lechner is a college grad currently working at her local library. In her spare time, she volunteers as an ESL teacher and freelances as a writer and editor. Besides the English language, Payton loves swimming, cats, and a good cup of tea.
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