With the start of the holiday season officially upon us, it can be tempting to think that joy is everywhere and no one is suffering. However, if we could see behind the surface smiles on some of those faces, we’d be sure to discover many who are hurting. The mere expectation of happiness during the Christmas season spirals many into depression. It can often magnify loss, loneliness, or heartache. When Christians are embroiled in a trial, we can find ourselves wondering what God is doing in our lives. Why does God allow bad things to good people? When God doesn’t reveal answers concerning our dire circumstances, we can become confused, and confusion can turn to bitterness. How can we cope with life’s harsh blows when we don’t understand what He’s doing?
Mountains of books and philosophers much more worthy than I have tackled questions like these. I’m not sure of all that they’ve deduced from their research, but I have discovered, like Job, that so many things, we won’t know until we meet Him face to face. Many Bible verses speak to this. I Corinthians 13:12 reminds us: “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall now fully, even as I am fully known.” Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us: “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways, my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” There’s another verse from Proverbs 25:2 that tells us that, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter.” We simply aren’t supposed to understand everything that God does and allows.
Often, when we get saved, we believe, mistakenly, that everything in our lives will be happy. While we can derive joy out of the most terrible situations when we are anchored in Christ, we won’t always feel happy. At times, we must all endure pain, suffering, and loss. Nobody can escape it. However, nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
We have to grasp Hebrews 11:6, which reads: “Without faith, it is impossible to please him.” We must have faith to please God. What is faith? Faith is “the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). We only have faith when we are operating in belief about things we have not seen. What better way is faith shown and developed than when we endure circumstances that test it? As difficult as that is for us to comprehend, we have to expect that our faith will be tested.
Although we may feel confused about why God has allowed tragic, shocking, or devastating things to happen, we must not stay in a state of confusion. I know some people who have refused to move from the state of confusion. They are so confused about the horror of life’s events and that God has allowed in their lives, they have become bitter.
We have to saturate ourselves in His Word and His presence, especially when we don’t understand God. Romans 10:17 says that “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Only in His Word and His presence can we find refuge, peace, joy, and love. When we decide that we are going to let go of the confusion and choose life, we open our hearts for forgiveness and love.
If for some reason, anyone has allowed bitterness to take root in your heart, I pray that you would decide to swallow life’s bitter pill and refuse to allow it to dictate your life. Refuse to allow the enemy to destroy your faith. Endure the test so that you have a testimony. Use your pain to help someone else and give God glory. Accept what God has allowed, and know that you are not the only one.
The Bible says, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man (I Corinthians 10:13). We all have to deal with pain, heartache, and suffering. The difference is, of course, how we handle it. So many people think that their story is the worst, but that is a self-centered attitude. We all have a story, uniquely crafted for our mission and God-given purpose. When we trust God totally with every facet of our lives, we find freedom, peace, and love.
Let’s help someone who’s hurting this Christmas season by extending our listening ear and offering prayer, kindness, and care.
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all of their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.
Blessings and love,