Sufferings, trials, testing and whatever else you want to name in similar lines will have a positive ending. In other words, they result in God’s wonderful blessings. God leads us through them so we know who we are to Him. As people in the flesh, it is impossible for us to know God, of His attributes and goodness without them. We must all accept that the mind of a human being is forgetful; his heart is disobedient and rebellious. It is by the sin he acquires. We have all committed iniquities and we know it by the forgiveness God has granted us in Christ. If we are to keep His commandments, revere Him and do not forget Him, we must see His greatness. If we are to realize that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from Him, we must understand Him as the most powerful and Almighty God.
God’s discipline is one other thing we can name in the lines of suffering and testing. He disciplines us in order we receive His kindness. His kindness includes various blessings and amazing works. When we are being disciplined, it is not easy to bear. If we were to choose, we would skip it no matter what. But His discipline is too good to reject when we consider the after effects. It leads us to a fantastic life. All in all when God is done taking us through ups and downs, He reveals the wonderful things or the life He reserved for us. Moses said this to Israel. “For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills” (Deut. 8:7).
One thing we can count on God is He will never forget nor forsake us. He takes whatever time and way is needed to bring us to a blessed life. You might be walking alone with no one to walk with you, but He has not left you even for a second. You are living and are being taken care of by His might. You might be living in fear of Him, since you sinned against Him. Yet, when you approach Him for mercy, He gathers you under His wings because of His calling to you. His whole intent for you is that you see His goodness so that you become a living example to many. Many times we do not understand it and hence become disappointed or even fuss at our inconceivable situations. But God wants us to know the reasons and understand. It is like an athlete preparing himself for the race. His goal is to win and he is prepared to go through any number of ordeals. He does not fuss or is disappointed, but looks at the goal he is intending to reach. But if he takes his eyes off it, he loses it and needs help to get back to it. Even so is our life to attain the glorious things God has reserved for us. We are going through every form of discipline and work ethic to obtain the best life from God.
Sometimes sin conquers us and we are temporarily separated from God or lose intimacy with Him. At such times God acts. He takes matters into His hands to bring us back into His presence. And we ought to understand it as His kindness to us. When David was being disciplined, it was not easy on him. But He understood that God was dealing with him. It was suffering in great measure. “And David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went, and his head was covered and he walked barefoot. Then all the people who were with him each covered his head and went up weeping as they went” (2 Sam. 15:30). He was king and had to leave his throne. His son Absalom was intending to kill him. All this happened for the fulfillment of what God spoke through Nathan the prophet at the time David sinned in the case of Uriah. He held on to God’s discipline. He did not break away from it; neither did he take matters into his own hand. He accepted God’s will toward him. The result was glorious. His throne was restored to him and he reigned as king until his death.
Sometimes we are tested by God. It could be for any reason of His. He may want to see our stronghold on faith and obedience. Or, He may have challenged Satan regarding us as in the case of Job. At such times it is very difficult to lead life. When Job discovered it, he said, “If I speak, my pain is not lessened, and if I hold back, what has left me?” (Job 16:6). Nothing takes away our pain. Whether we speak or not, suffering and its effects remain on us. Yet, just as God protected Job throughout his suffering, so He will protect us. Job was never forgotten or forsaken. In fact, God remembered him for all that He reserved for him.
At the time when we are being tested and disciplined by God or when we face sufferings and trials, there are few things we must quickly latch on to.
- Seek God’s counsel. The foremost thing we must do is approach God. There is untold wisdom rested with Him. “Listen, for I will speak noble things; and the opening of my lips will reveal right things” (Prov. 8:6). He is able to explain our ordeals in a way that gives quietness, strength and courage. Even in all his suffering Job did not seek answers from his friends. In fact, he rejected and loathed their responses. He looked only to God and was heard. And at times God takes time to respond to our requests, but He will surely answer; He seeks our perseverance in asking Him. Many times His response is quick and sturdy.
- Do not hide sin. “There is a conspiracy of her prophets in her midst like a roaring lion tearing the prey. They have devoured lives; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in the midst of her” (Ezek. 22:25). When His wisdom speaks to us, we ought to lay all our dark secrets before Him. Avoiding confession only makes life that much more difficult. The secret to being restored to good life or being promoted to one lies in confessing our mistakes to Him. The moment we hide our sin or find excuses it hardens God’s heart to bless us. But if we confess, He turns our mistakes into blessings; for in kindness He forgets our iniquities.
- Remember the right. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). God gave us the right to become His children. So, do not ever assume He will not counsel us and do not assume He will not forgive us. Because we are His children, He has determined in Himself to lead us to His unfathomable blessings. The right to call on Him, the right to be heard from Him and the right to receive goodness from Him is ours to the end. Paul in the Spirit said, “That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants” (Rom. 9:8). When we are descendants by the promise, it is a must that we eventually receive in this life all the good the Lord God has planned and reserved for us.