“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds” – James 1:2
When we are found deep within the season of testing, we tend to question God’s goodness – that if He is really good, why is there suffering, pain, and hurt? I find this topic to be very sensitive, as one incorrect answering this may lead poeple, especially unbelievers, farther from God than closer to Him. But really, if God is good, why am I still hurting?
In order to answer that question, I’d rather not focus on the testing itself but to the breakthoughs and victories we previously had. In Deuteronomy 8:2, it says “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.“. When trials arise, we often forget how good God has been to us eversince, that everyday He gives us chance, wakes us up, and His grace is new every morning (Lamentations 3:2-23). The harsh truth is, most of the trials we face are the consequences of our decisions – decisions in which we leaned on our own understanding and did not enquire of God. Even that point itself, already shows how God has been good to us, for giving us the gift of freewill.
And during the times of testing we have a choice in what to respond to God – we either respond in retaliation or in humility. As humans, it is easier for us to retaliate. We complain to make us look like we know it all, but in actuality we complain because we do not understand and we are afraid – we fear the unknown, so we get loud. Our vision becomes so limited that anything that unexpectedly blocks it, we retaliate. But we should remember that God is an all-seeing god who knows you even before you were conceived (Jeremiah 1:5), who knows the numbers of your hair (Luke 12:7), and knows the end of your days (Job 14:5) that this blockage is nothing to Him for He knows how you will come out after it.
The uncommon response (the road less taken) is to be humble. Being humble in the sense that we humbly admit our own decisions lead us to the mess that we are in. We humbly admit that we cannot do it on our own anymore and we need God’s help. God is the god of turnaround and comeback – even if we are in the middle of the mess and testing, He can turn it around for our own good, we just have to humbly admit our sins and ask for forginess and deliverance.
I believe the right question to ask is “God, what would You want me to learn in this season?”. Most of the times, God lets us face these trials (Deuteronomy 8:3) with Him. For in those trials, He wants to teach us how to fully depend on Him because ultimately, only Jesus can satisfy every hunger and quench every thirst. He promises not to leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6) during and to abundantly and graciously provide for our needs and more. If we clung on to Him, He promises to deliver us, humble us, and turn us into gold (Job 23:10). That even if we are facing our giants, we will still experience His love and grace.
Trials also show our true character and heart – if its desires is genuine or just filled with emotions which are fleeting. It filters those who truly obey to those who are just hyped. Let us remember that the season of testing is not to make us happy – its primary purpose is to turn us into man and woman who “does not live on bread alone but live by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Deuteronomy 8:3).
So if God is good, why am I still hurting? Because He wants you to trust in Him and His plans for you. He wants you to learn how to let go of the things that worries and hurts you and just fully depend on Him. He wants you to come out as gold, ever precious than before.
Lord, thank you for revealing to us that the trials are made to strengthen us, especially our faith in You. Please forgive us if at times we question Your ways and doubt Your goodness – the fact that we are breathing and standing tall here on earth shows how good You are. Most of the times, when faced with trials our vision gets short-sighted and we tend to retaliate – help us to humble ourselves in You. That even if there is a turmoil, You can still bring about peace and joy in our hearts.
Lord there are people right now who does not understand Your ways – they are hurting and they feel hopeless – Lord I pray that You come into their hearts. I pray You bring peace over their lives, that the goal is to not understand what is happening but to experience You and Your love. I pray, Oh Lord, You deliver them from pain and hurt – I Pray, You let them rest tonight. Their visions are in a blur, guide them as they take a step towards uncertainty. Assure them of Your promise of a beautiful tomorrow. That this journey will be worth it for You are using it for our own good. It may hurt now, we may not understand now but we know Your love and grace is sufficient for us to go through any testing.
Lord, we are afraid, please hold our hands as we walk in the tunnel of darkness. Be our light. The storm may not calm but in You there is peace. I speak healing to those who are in pain and hope to the hopeless with Your mighty name, Jesus.
Thank You. We love You so much. In Jesus name. Amen.