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How to endure seasons of suffering

Suffering comes to each of us in various forms. Prolonged periods of illness, financial setbacks, and raging storms that seem to come out of nowhere can knock us off our feet.  The howling winds of difficulty can leave us curled up in the corner, waiting for the storm to pass.

  • What do you do when the storm is not passing?
  • How can you and I look up to heaven when it feels as if we get slapped in the face with debris kicked up by the storm?
  • Even worse, what do you do when it feels as if heaven is silent while the storm is raging on?

In the darkest times, we have to remind ourselves of God’s great and precious promises.

Those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, LORD, have not forsaken those that seek You. 

Psalm 9:10 ESV

O LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your Name, for in perfect faithfulness You have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.

Isaiah 25:1 ESV

God is always at work.

God can work in our lives, no matter what is going on.  Trials are opportunities for God to show His grace and power, and for His character to be formed in us.

The temptation we face during seasons of suffering is to withdraw from those around us. We hope that we can heal quietly and forget the pain. We try to move past what happened or what brought us to this season of suffering.  This happens most when our season of suffering is brought on by those around us and not by something we have done. In ministry, we can suffer because of our own lack of wisdom and knowledge. We can also suffer as a result of the actions of those we are trying to lead.

Just keep swimming.

I’ve stated previously, at times, ministry can feel like living in a fishbowl.  Oftentimes it feels as if that fishbowl is made out of magnifying glass.  I’ve wished that I could process my hurts, disappointments, and rejection within the anonymity of the city.

However, God has a different plan. I have to remind myself that this is ultimately for my good and for His glory.  It may not look like it now, but that is what He promises (Rom 8:28).

God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them.

John Piper

How is the world around me going to know the hope within me is real if they don’t see it on display?

Suffering puts the work God is quietly doing in our hearts on display. We can’t forget in the midst of our suffering, He is doing more than we realize. John Piper says, “God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them.” God is purifying us and making us more like Christ if we’ll cooperate with Him.  It is during the trials of life that what is inside comes to the surface. Anyone can be all smiles when things are going fine. It’s what we do when we are in the fire that catches people’s attention.

Stay in the race.

I am not at the mercy of what happens to me.  I am at the mercy of God Almighty, my God. I can move forward in faith against opposition.  I am not a victim of my circumstances. Ministry can bring hurts that we might not otherwise experience.  Since we believe in the sovereignty of God, we can know that ultimately all these things will work out for our good and for His glory.  Don’t quit. Let these truths help you dig in and stay faithful. He is faithful and will keep you from falling.

You can trust God.

Jacque Clifton

Jacque is a passionate Christ follower who is committed to teaching other women about the power of God’s Word and prayer. She loves to help others discover how their lives can be used for the glory of God. She has been married to her husband Dace for over 17 years. They have two children and reside in central Texas.