God Transforms Us Through Suffering

James 4:8

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but You do not answer, by night, but I find no rest. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; You are the one Israel praises. In You our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and You delivered them. To You they cried out and were saved; in You they trusted and were not put to shame. – Psalm 22:1-5

Meditation

God never promised that we would be exempt from affliction; rather, suffering is part of our lot in a fallen world.

However, there is hope because, though He does not always deliver us from suffering, He promises to deliver and transform us through it if we rely on His resources instead of our own. In such times of suffering, we can know for sure that we are not alone.

In the midst of our pain, God promises to never leave us or abandon us.

Therefore, when we grieve, we do not grieve like the world does; we grieve with hope, knowing that God is often revealed most clearly in the midst of our trials. God will never despise us or hide his face from us. When we cry for help, He will hear and will enable us to endure. The certainty of His companionship in the midst of our afflictions allows us to view them as a means to a greater end. Our suffering is accomplishing something in us, forging within us the character of the One in whose image we are made. Because of Christ, even our catastrophes have purpose. God is preparing our character for the time when we will see Him face to face.

Prayer

Lord of all creation, You have shown me that I will have tribulation in this world. But You have counseled me to take courage because You have overcome the world and have promised to never leave or forsake me. Grant me the grace to hold fast to the truths of the gospel, to the Person and work of Christ, and to the power of the Spirit. May I hope in Your promises, confessing that I am but a stranger and exile in this world, reveling in the love you have shown me and extending that love to others. Teach me to exult in my tribulations, knowing that difficulties bring about perseverance, character, and a hope that does not disappoint. And may I always remember that I am headed for a glorious and eternal future with You that cannot be compared to the temporary struggles of this world. In Your steadfast name I pray. Amen.

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Your Turn

Jesus knows about suffering. He empathizes with you and will never, ever leave or forsake you. He is with you. He is strengthening and preparing you in the middle of our trials and hardships. Pour your heart out to Him today. Come join the conversation on our blog! We would love to hear from you about crying out to God in the middle of the struggles and pains of life. ~ Devotionals Daily

Ken Boa (PhD, New York University; DPhil, University of Oxford) is the president of Reflections Ministries and Trinity House Publishers. His recent publications include Conformed to His Image, Face to Face, Pursuing Wisdom, The Art of Living Well, Wisdom at Work, Living What You Believe, and Sacred Readings.

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