I have felt really led to write about suffering lately and what the Lord says about it. I know for myself that I'm perpetually asking "why, Lord" when I'm suffering, and I think that's something we all ask at times. "Why did this happen? Why me? What good can possibly come from this? Is God mad at me? Is He punishing me? What does He expect from me during this time in my life? Why does He allow this to happen to those who are saved? Shouldn't we be exempt?" So, let's take a look at these questions and see what God's word has to say about it.
Let's start off by first defining what suffering is.
We all experience suffering during out lives, in many different ways and from many different causes. Suffering can have a tremendous impact on our lives. The Lord knows this and has, therefore, a lot to say on this subject in His Word. I'd like to take this study in a very relaxed manner and just let the Lord lead us in it. So please come and join me. Let's share our experiences, what the Lord's shown us, our questions, and our insights with each other!
Why is there suffering in the first place? Did God plan for us to suffer? No, I don't believe He did. If you read the first few chapters of Genesis, you'll see that the Lord created this world, us, and everything in it, and declared it good. There was no suffering, no tears, no sorrow, no pain. Adam enjoyed a close personal relationship with the Lord and all he could want or need was provided for him. This was God's desire for us as well. However, Satan got into the mix and Adam made that fateful choice, and sin entered the world. Along with sin, came the consequences of sin, one of which is suffering.
We can also see that suffering is not God's desire for us by looking in the last few chapters of Revelation. Here God gives us a glimpse of what our lives will be like throughout eternity.
Revelation 21:2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” 5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
I think by looking at both the beginning of things and at the end of things, we can all see that God does not desire for us to suffer. It is not His intention that we should. Instead, it is the result of sin that entered the world when Adam made his fateful choice.
Suffering in our lives can be caused both by sin being in the world in general, as well as by our own personal sin. I'm not talking about God sitting on His throne and saying, "Look, Cindy sinned, let's make her suffer now so she'll learn not to do it again". I don't believe that even for a second! No, instead it's more akin to the law of cause and effect. If I sin by breaking a law (The bible tells us to obey our rulers) the natural consequence of that sin is that I may very well be caught, have a record of my crime follow me the rest of my life, go to prison etc. Now let's say that my crime was robbing a store. I already listed how I might suffer because of what I did, but what about the store owner? He didn't do anything but I robbed him. He is then suffering because of the consequences of sin being in the world, not because of anything he did.
Now there's one other area that people usually think of when we talk about the consequences of sin in our lives, and that is this passage:
John 9:1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.
Many people, especially the WOF prosperity preachers, take this verse to mean that disease is caused by specific sins. What Jesus is saying here though is that this is not necessarily true. In this particular man's case, Jesus said it was allowed so that God could be glorified when Jesus healed him.
Now, about this idea that sin can cause disease and illness. It actually can. Before you get ready to beat me about the head and shoulders though, I am not saying that all disease and illness and pain are caused by personal sin. Not at all!
Think of it this way. A baby is born with deformities. Who sinned, the baby or her parents? Neither did, just as in the case presented to Jesus. The sin that caused the deformities is the consequence of general sin present in all humans and in nature itself. All of nature has been corrupted with sin. We have pollution and all kinds decay and death in nature now because of sin. Prior to Adam's sin, even the plants lived forever. There was no decay, no death.
With nature itself corrupted and mankind corrupted, with the poisons in our air and in our soil, is it any wonder that babies are born deformed? So no, God didn't form the baby wrong. He didn't make a mistake. Sin entered in and caused the deformity. God did allow it however. This is a result of His curse on Adam and Eve and on all creation due to sin. Our bodies were originally designed to never grow old and to never go through anything like deformities or diseases, so please don't believe that for a second. God wouldn't do something like this to us.
Let's take this same scenario one step further. Let's say that the baby was born this way because of her parents sin. Yes, that can actually happen. Not because God is condemning the baby though. Here's one way this could happen: The parents of this baby sinned by using cocaine and heroin. That sin directly affected their babies health, not because God looked down from heaven and saw what they did and proclaimed that He would make them pay for what they did by hurting their baby though! Again, God wouldn't do that. Their baby's malformation is caused simply due to the fact that those particular chemicals have that affect on a growing embryo. How do I know that God wouldn't do this?
Deuteronomy 24:16 Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin.
Ezekiel 18:20 "The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.
I think having discussed all of these different ways that sin can affect us, we can now see that it really was not God's plan for us to suffer. We were not made for that. Our suffering is a direct result sin entering the world when Adam made his fateful choice. Having established that, we can now deal with why God allows it.
Why God allows suffering
One of the first things that comes to mind when we talk about suffering and why God allows it, is that for some reason it seems to strengthen our faith. Just as this passage says:
James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
As this verse says, God allows us to suffer so that our faith in Him will be strengthened and we can be mature in Him. Do you remember the parable Jesus told about the different houses that were built?
Matthew 7:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
The rain and the wind in these verses represents the trials we go through and the things that cause us to suffer. The rock of course Is Jesus. In these passages we can see two types of "Christians". The "Christians in name only" who have built their house on sand, and true believers like us, who have Jesus as the firm foundation of our faith. Let's look at another passage that talks about this:
Romans 5:3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
This passage isn't talking about rejoicing in suffering as in some kind of sadistic way. What it is telling us is that we can look beyond the suffering to what the end result of it will be and rejoice in that. So we're not actually rejoicing in the suffering, but rather in the outcome.
In todays world especially, perseverance and character are in short supply. We live in a world of instant gratification, with computers, microwaves, cell phones, fast food restaurants etc. (I'm not saying these things are bad, only that they don't usually build a persons character) There are not too many people in the world today that can put off instant gratification and deal with something on a long term basis.
God however does not want us to stay as little children, always seeking instant gratification. He wants us to become mature in Him, a process which is often painful. The good news is that He helps us through this process and when we have gone through it, our faith will have been strengthened and we will have developed an even deeper and closer relationship with Him.
Notice the last sentence in that passage:
And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us
As we go through these trials and experience suffering, the Holy Spirit which dwells within us, will encourage us and remind us that God won't fail us or let us down, and that God really does love us.
Now, back to why God allows us to suffer. Clearly He says He allows it to strengthen our faith, produce perseverance in us and build us up our character so that our character is proven and not just wishful thinking. He allows it so that we will grow and mature in our faith so we will then be able to help others grow and mature in their faith.
There is still yet more that our suffering will bring about in us:
2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Do you see it? As we mature, (by persevering through our suffering) we are able more and more to participate in His divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. He then tells us some of the fruit that our maturing will bring us and adds that this fruit will make us effective and productive for the Lord!
I'd like to also show what God has for us who suffer and persevere in it:
James 1:12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
Later the Lord has this to say to us through James:
James 5:7 Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! 10 Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
Job 42:10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before.
Job 42:12 The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first.
There is so much more, but I have a feeling this is already way too long so I'll stop here for now.
Just as a little addition to this thread I will say this
The obedience that Jesus learned was obedience to the Father in going to the cross submitting unto the will of the Father. He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. He had to go through that suffering. The path of the cross is a path of suffering. Can any of us not walk the same path of the cross.
That's so true! Thank you for reminding me of that verse Pastor Richard! God allows us to experience suffering so we can become more mature in our faith. Part of that journey is learning obedience.
There have been so many times on this journey that I have asked the Lord, "why?" or even "why me?" I'm sure many of you have as well. It's no fun to suffer and it's natural for us to want to know why it's happening. I know that for me, when the Lord has indicated to me that He wanted me to do or say something, I often couldn't understand why He wanted me to, and was always asking Him that. He finally got it through my thick head that understanding almost always comes AFTER obedience. I won't say it always does, because there is bound to be exceptions to that, but a large part of the time, we won't know the answer to "why" until after we have obeyed.
I feel another book coming on, so I'd better stop here LOL, but suffice it to say for now, that we could also include learning obedience as part of the fruit that comes out of our suffering.
There is something that Christians experience when suffering that non believers don't have. Even in the midst of suffering, we still have Jesus. I'm not talking about us having a "head knowledge of Jesus", but rather a "heart knowledge". We know He is with us; we know He is walking through our suffering right along beside us; crying with us, holding us, and strengthening us so that we can keep on keeping on. No, we can't see Him with our physical eyes, but we know He's there. He often sends little things to remind us--perhaps another person will say something to encourage us, or call us unexpectedly, or a flower that is special to us will bloom in our path, or someone will give us one, or a letter will arrive that brings encouragement; or the sermon at church that week might seem as though it was written just for us; all these things and more are ways that Jesus lets us know He's with us and that He's not going anywhere.
For us, that's even more important then the suffering. In my case right now, my "suffering" is in the forum of physical pain. If I was given a choice to live the next 40 years with no pain at all if I would give up Jesus, I couldn't do it. Even if it meant that I'd have double the physical pain if I didn't do it. Jesus is just that important to me and I know He is to you as well.
I was going to say that while having Jesus with us doesn't actually lessen our suffering, I can't imagine going through it without Him. Thinking about that however, I'm beginning to believe that I was wrong. I now think that having Jesus with us actually DOES lessen our suffering. Think about it for a minute...really try and imagine going through whatever is causing your suffering without Jesus. I don't know about you, but for me that little exercise is enough to almost make me feel physically ill! To not have Him with me would cause me an enormous amount of more suffering! So with that in mind I can say that having Him does lessen our suffering somewhat. See what I mean?
Psalm 73: 25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Romans 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Remember the parable of the prodigal son? It's in Luke 15:11-32 if you'd like to read it to refresh your memory. In that parable, it talks about what happens to the son when he takes off with his inheritance and spends it unwisely. Afterward, he's miserable, hungry, dirty, and exhausted from working so hard to get so little. I think it would be pretty accurate to say that he was suffering, don't you? So what did he gain from his suffering? What did his suffering cause him to do?
First, it caused him to look inward and start examining himself and his past actions that had brought him to this point. This wasn't just a cursory quick examination either, because this time when he looked at himself, he saw himself as he truly was, and it wasn't a very pretty picture.
This inspection of himself was brought on by his suffering and it produced the fruit of godly sorrow and repentance. He was no longer claiming he was a victim of circumstances, or it was someone else's fault or whatever. No more excuses. He was now taking responsibility for his actions and confessing his sins--to himself, to God and to his father.
Luke 15:18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’
Now on the flip side of that, is that by learning more about ourselves and our true nature, we also get to learn even more about God and just how much He really does love us and help us. I know for me that at times when something like this has happened and I realize just what some aspect of me is like, that things about God that were just words to me before become personally meaningful to me. I think that's what Job meant when he said:
Job 42:5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.
An example of learning more about God through our suffering is also shown in the story of the prodigal son. The father of the boy in the story can represent God who is our Father. See what his reaction to his son's return is?
Luke 15:22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
What a wonderful example of just how much God loves us and of how He forgives us! Instead of sitting the boy down and having a little talk with him and telling him just how rotten he was, how much he hurt him, how the boy will now have to earn his trust back, etc. he cleans him up and throws a welcome home party!
Can you see what I mean about the words becoming meaningful through that? Before something happened to this boy, he may have been told before that his father would forgive him his sins, and he may have believed that. But it wasn't personal yet. Once this happened though, it became personal! Instead of a lecture, he got a ring! Instead of having a list of his sins thrown in his face, he got a party!
So this story shows us that one of the reasons that God allows suffering is because that it can teach us both more about ourselves and also more about Him.
I've never really looked at that parable this way before. The Lord just showed it to me today and I wanted to share it with you guys. I can't wait to see what He has in store for us tomorrow!
Let's continue to look at the reasons that God allows us to suffer. I'm actually surprised by some of these, as I wasn't aware of them. Oh, I knew the stories and all, but I had never related it to suffering the way the Lord has been showing me lately.
He just showed me yet another reason is to help prepare us for a new ministry. This is really amazing to me because this is exactly what He did for me back when I got hurt at work originally! I just never thought of it in this way!
I'm going to post the entire passage of what I've been looking at, since the entire thing relates to what we're studying. This passage deals with the way Jesus suffered for us, and also shows how we are to suffer and why. So we can also look at how Jesus approached suffering and how He handled it when He was here.
John 12:23-29 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
Jesus obviously knew what was going to happen to Him. I don't think any normal human being could have lived with that knowledge day in and day out. I think the stress of it would either kill him or cause him to go insane. But here, Jesus uses His own coming suffering to teach us to look on it with a different perspective. He shows us the spiritual perspective, whereas before we could only see the physical one.
The physical perspective is one that we're all familiar with. In Jesus's case it was His torture and crucifixion. For us it might be pain, illness, injury, a death, or any number of things that can cause us to suffer.
In the passage above, when Jesus says:
He is telling us that what is happening is that we are actually dying. He shows us that this must happen in order for us to truly follow Him.
I think that this would be much easier for me to explain if I just tell you what happened to me.
As anyone who lives with pain knows, we don't just suffer physically from the pain, but also emotionally and mentally. We feel useless and like we no longer have a purpose in life. At the time I was first experiencing this, all but one of my 5 children had grown up and moved out to be on their own. My 5th child wasn't very far behind them. I knew I only had a few more years before she too would be gone. This just added to my pain because now I was also dealing with the empty nest syndrome on top of everything else.
I poured my heart out to the Lord and told Him all of what I was feeling. I told Him that I felt like I was going through all the stages of grief that people go through when someone dies, except no one had died. What He pointed out to me next just totally blew me away. He said it was normal for me to be experiencing the grief from the death of a loved one, because someone had died. I had! Let me tell you, that got my attention!!
It got my attention because I realized how true it was! My old self had died. I could no longer define myself by what I did, as I was no longer working. I soon wouldn't be a "mother" any more either as my children would no longer need me to care for them. I couldn't define myself by any of the active roles in church because I was unable to do those any longer either. So I was no longer Cindy, the Sunday School Teacher, or Cindy, Michelle and Jenn's mom, or Cindy from Friendship Manor. I was just "Cindy" and I didn't know who that was anymore. All those other aspects of me had died. It was a really scary time for me.
Little by little however, the Lord taught me who I truly was. Who I was in Christ. As He taught me that, I realized that all those other aspects of my life that I had always defined myself by, had really gotten in my way of seeing who I really was. The Lord had to bring me to a place where all these things literally were done away with, before I could see what was really important and that was Him, and my new life in Him.
Now I began to learn what happens when we truly die to self and live for Him. I began to learn to put Him first and to always ask Him what we were doing that day instead of just deciding myself. It became His life rather then my life. It wasn't an easy transition, but the Lord is a very good and very patient teacher. He never gives us more then we can handle at any one time. So this transition didn't happen overnight, even after the revelation of what was happening. I still needed that time to grieve for the death of my old life too.
Nor do I mean to imply that I now have this new life down pat. I don't. The Lord is still teaching me, and I know He will continue to teach me this the rest of my life. Each day is new and has new challenges, as well as old ones. (I think He throws those in just to make sure we don't forget the lessons we've already learned lol)
But back to the "new ministry" part. After I began to learn who I was in Him and that this new life was His life, not mine, He gave me a new job. My own ministry. One I could have never dreamed up on my own. He called it Fresh-Hope and that's how this message board was born.
One ministry that God gives everyone who has suffered is the ministry of comforting others who have suffered something similar.
2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4. who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
That's part of what Fresh Hope is all about. It's about each of us who have gone through something, giving comfort and encouragement to others who are now going through the same thing we did. Therefore, Fresh Hope isn't just "my" ministry. In fact it's really not "mine" at all. It's God's. It's God who has drawn you each here to share in His ministry, that all of us might receive the comfort, encouragement, hope and advice that we need, when we need it.
So God allows suffering sometimes to ready us for a new ministry. It might be a ministry here at Fresh Hope, or it could be elsewhere, or even both. It could be that your suffering had to happen to clear away some of the "baggage" you had so that you could better take on the new ministry He has for you. Suffering definitely causes us to dig deep into ourselves and ask some hard questions. That's how God is able to burn away alot of the dross we've picked up during our lives and get us back on track to where we're supposed to be.
I hope this has helped someone, I know it's helped me!
I've been reading Job to see what this book has to say about suffering. Even in the very first chapter something jumped out at me. Right after God allows Satan to cause the deaths of Job's 10 children Job shows us the godly way of dealing with suffering. Those who have lost a child know that this is the worst thing that can happen to a parent. There is no greater suffering then that of a parent who's child has died. So how does Job react when all of his children die in an accident?
Job 1:20-22 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
Yes, he grieved, as any parent would, but even in the very midst of his horrible grief, he worshiped the Lord! Instead of getting angry at God and yelling at Him and saying "why me" or "why my children", he accepts that the Lord is in control and that all will work out in the end for his good. He confirms that the Lord is good and in control of all.
That's got to be the hardest thing in the world to do. To offer up the sacrifice of praise. Because when we're suffering, it IS a sacrifice., as praise is probably the last thing that we feel like doing. To affirm even in the midst of disaster or suffering that God is good all the time, and that He is in control and knows best, and to worship Him shows a very mature faith.
Next Satan is given permission to cause Job to have a disease that made painful boils erupt all over his skin. Still Job didn't sin, even when goaded to by his own wife:
Job 2:10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
I have always felt that the Lord included this book in His Word to teach us how to deal with suffering in a Godly way. So far, in the first two chapters we've seen that God wants us to remember that He is good all the time, even when He's allowing us to suffer through something, and we don't understand why. Job had no idea that the reason he was going through all this was because of Satan. All he could know was that for some reason, God was allowing it. He chose to trust God and affirm God's goodness and to worship God even though he was in emotional, mental, and physical pain.
Heb 13:15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name
Note the word, "continually" in the above verse. That means even when we're suffering, just as Job did. I'm always curious as to the "why" of things, so I asked myself why God would want us to do this. Is it because He has a big ego and needs to be praised all the time? No, I honestly don't believe that for a minute. What I discovered was at least one of the reasons He wants us to do that is because it actually helps us! Have you ever been really upset about something and decided to stop the merry-go-round that your mind was on, and to start praising God instead? I have. Do you know what happens to you when you do that? You start feeling better! Praising and worshiping the Lord, makes us feel better emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically! The Lord of course knows this and I believe that's one reason He wants us to do this.
Of course I also wondered why it makes us feel so much better when we start praising and worshiping God. I have come to the conclusion that it is because when we worship Him we are actually making a connection to Him which causes our spirit and soul to be refreshed and recharged. When we are worshiping Him, our eyes are no longer on what is causing us to suffer, but are now on Jesus. As long as we maintain that connection with Him, He can renew our minds, restore our souls and refresh our spirits. In essence, He recharges our batteries.
Remember the story of Peter walking on water? He was doing great until when? Until he took his eyes off Jesus and started looking at the water. (the water represents any crisis, or suffering you're going through) So that story too is trying to teach us to keep our eyes on the One that can carry us through this rather then on the suffering we're going through.
Also, when we take our eyes off what is causing us to suffer and put them on the Lord, we are allowing Him to be our strength, rather then trying to go it alone, just as this verse says:
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Does that make sense to you? I know that learning this really helped me a lot. Of course the Lord still has to remind me to put my eyes back on Him and take them off the pain, but little by little I'm getting better at it.