Adversity stirs us up and causes us to look at life differently. We are forced to deal with things on a deeper level. Nothing causes "self" to cave in like suffering. And once our religious facade begins to wear thin, God moves in and begins teaching us what real Christlikeness is about.
God had one son on earth without sin, but never one without suffering.
Down through the centuries in times of trouble and trial God has brought courage to the hearts of those who love Him. The Bible is filled with assurances of God's help and comfort in every kind of trouble which might cause fears to arise in the human heart. You can look ahead with promise, hope, and joy.
Why does God bring thunderclouds and disasters when we want green pastures
and still waters? Bit by bit we find, behind the clouds, the Father's feet; behind the lightning, an abiding day that has no night; behind the thunder, "a still small voice" that comforts with a comfort that is unspeakable.
Any man can sing in the day. . . . It is easy to sing when we can read the notes by daylight; but he is the skillful singer who can sing when there is not a ray of light by which to read. . . . Songs in the night come only from God; they are not in the power of man.
--Charles Haddon Spurgeon
God is doing a greater work in us, and that can only come as we learn to trust him no matter how dark the days and sleepless the nights. And it is only as we have been through the darkness with him that what we know with our heads slides down into our hearts, and our hearts no longer demand answers. The Why? becomes unimportant when we believe that God can and will redeem the pain for our good and his glory. . . . When I put the sovereignty of God beside his unfailing love, my heart can rest.
He commonly brings His help in our greatest extremity, and that His finger may plainly appear in our deliverance. And this method He chooses that we may not trust upon anything that we see or feel, as we are always apt to do, but only His bare Word, which we may depend upon in every state.
--A. H. Von Bogatzky
When circumstances seem impossible, when all signs of grace in you seem at their lowest ebb, when temptation is fiercest, when love and joy and hope seem well-nigh extinguished in your heart, then rest, without feeling and without emotion, in the Father's faithfulness.
Are you in difficult circumstances, surrounded by people who do not understand you, who never consult your taste, who put you in the background? This thing is from Me. I am the God of circumstances. Thou camest not to thy place by accident, it is the very place God intended for thee.
--Laura A. Snow
God is the one who clasps your hand as you move from one place to another. He is the one who has gone ahead of you, prepared a place for you, and will hold out His hand for you to cling to.
Our circumstances are not an accurate reflection of God's goodness. Whether
life is good or bad, God's goodness, rooted in His character, is the same.
--Helen Grace Lescheid
Good Friday came after Christmas, but the angels still sang at the manger. In the midst of the hardest reality of life, there is always a welcome for tenderness and beauty.
--Bruce W. Thielemann
The world is full of suffering. It is also full of the overcoming of it. We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world. . . . Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through the experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened.
If you feel stuck, bring your whole self to Christ, not just the problem, but you. Ask God to change your heart. Commit yourself to pray to that end. It's God's heart to give good gifts to His children.
Even in the winter, even in the midst of the storm, the sun is still there. Somewhere, up above the clouds, it still shines and warms and pulls at the life buried deep inside the brown branches and frozen earth. The sun is there! Spring will come! The clouds cannot stay forever.
God may be in the process of pruning something out of your life at this very moment. If this is the case, don't fight it. Instead, welcome it, for His pruning will make you more fruitful and bring greater glory to the Father.
God has a course mapped out for your life, and all the inadequacies in the world will not change His mind. He will be with you every step of the way. And though it may take time, He has a celebration planned for when you cross over the "Red Seas" of your life.
As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations, compounded by December's bad weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation, and people to whom we are worth the same.
--Donald E. Westlake
Whatever else be lost among the years,
Let us keep Chriustmas still a shining thing:
Whatever doubts assail us, or what fears,
Let us hold close one day, remembering
Its poignant meaning for the hearts of men.
Let us get back our childlike faith again.
--Grace Noll Crowell
Christmas is not just a day, an event to be observed and speedily forgotten. It is a spirit which should permeate every part of our lives. To believe that the spirit of Christmas does change lives and to labor for the realization of its coming to all men is the essence of our faith in Christ.
This is Christmas: not the tinsel, not the giving and receiving, not even the carols, but the humble heart that receives anew the wondrous gift, the Christ.
The character of the Creator cannot be less than the highest He has created, and the highest is that babe born to Mary on that first Christmas morning.
--A. Ian Burnett
Thus we can always know that men could live with good will and understanding
for each other, because one day in each year the little Divine Prince of Peace still compels them to do it.
--Charles Jeremiah Wells
The Light that shines from the humble manger is strong enough to lighten our way to the end of our days.
The birth of the Lord means peace on earth, but only for those "on whom his favor rests." Indeed, the Savior's birth is a meaningless gesture by the appraisal of many persons. But for those people who receive Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord, they find the peace that can only come from the favor or grace of God.
--The Logos International Bible Commentary
Don't trust to hold God's hand; let Him hold yours. Let Him do the holding, and you the trusting.
--Hammer William Webb-Peploe
When we have done all we can, we must still wait for God to accomplish His purposes. As we wait, we can fix our eyes on Jesus as a companion who empathizes with our suffering and a Savior who is working behind the scenes. Difficult circumstances seem to increase our ability to experience intimacy with Christ.
It does not matter if the adversity you are facing originated with Satan. Receive it as if it were from God. You know that nothing can happen to you unless He allows it. And if He allows it, He must certainly have a purpose in it.
The eagle flies in storms while other birds seek shelter and other animals run and hide. With an adjustment of his wings, the eagle can fly almost motionless even in the face of great winds. The eagle uses the strong winds of the storm to lift him higher and higher until he rises above the clouds. The eagle has no power to stop a storm, but he knows how to overcome without fear.
(compare to Isaiah 40:31)
To overcome a difficulty in your life: believe in the character of God . . . He is good; believe in the power of God . . . He will bring you through; believe in the love of God . . . He cares for you deeply and He will not abandon you.
When you become consumed by God's call on your life, everything will take on new meaning and significance. You will begin to see every facet of your life -- including your pain -- as a means through which God can work to bring others to Himself.