“In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.”Job 1:22
When we’re walking through a valley of suffering, it’s easy to look at God with bitterness and maybe even anger. We’re tempted to let our pained cries of “Why, God?” turn into angry fist-shaking or sullen back-turning.
Satan (2:5) and Job’s wife (2:9) wanted Job to curse God for his suffering.
He never did, because he knew who God was.
If we’re angry at God for our suffering, it’s because we don’t have a right understanding of His character.
Who is God?
1. God is sovereign
He created the world, He sustains the world, and He remains in control of the world. Everything that happens–both big and little–takes place within His hands.
Including your trial.
Sometimes we think that just because we’re not in control God isn’t in control either.
But your trial is never bigger than God. This is part of His plan, the plan He has shaped for you since before you were born.
Nothing happens without His permission. He is always in control.
“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness,I Chronicles 29:11-13
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O Lord,
And You are exalted as head over all.
Both riches and honor come from You,
And You reign over all.
In Your hand is power and might;
In Your hand it is to make great
And to give strength to all.”
2. God is all-knowing
In the difficulties that have come through my life (and certainly everyone else’s life) in 2020, it’s been a remarkable comfort to me to know that these events did not surprise God; instead, they’re part of His plan.
Sometimes we think that just because something surprises us it surprises God too.
But nothing is a surprise to God. Your trial didn’t surprise Him, didn’t catch Him off guard, didn’t find Him unprepared. He knew this would happen before it began.
Believing this trial is part of God’s plan (even if it wasn’t part of ours) leaves us with a peace that surpasses understanding.
“I am God, and there is none like Me,Isaiah 46:9-10
Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done.”
3. God is good
God might intentionally put trials in our lives, or He might simply permit them to take place. Either way, our trials only come to us through the careful protection of God’s hands.
Sometimes we think that just because our situation isn’t good God isn’t good either.
But Scripture makes it clear that God is always good, whether or not our circumstances are, and that out of this goodness He can use even bad things for good purposes.
When we’re in a valley of suffering, it’s not because God wants to make us miserable. He’s not out to get us.
He wants us to grow.
As a result, whether the trial comes directly or indirectly from Him, it’s for a purpose: to draw us closer to Himself, if we’re willing.
As Hebrews 12:11 says, “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
Pastor Cary Schmidt writes,
“Chastening is future focused and always looks upward in hope toward an expected outcome for the good. Chastening is driven by love and tender compassion, and is designed to keep me growing in the right direction spiritually. Chastening is designed to bring forth the peaceable fruit of righteousness in your life and future.”Off Script: When God Rewrites Your Life, pg 133
See similar truths woven through Chris Anderson’s text of the hymn “You Are Always Good.”
“The Lord is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works.”Psalm 145:9
4. God is close
Even if He feels distant, He isn’t. The psalms assure us time and time again that God hears our prayers (Psalm 34:17), He collects our tears in a bottle (Psalm 56:8), He accompanies us through our trials (Psalm 138:7).
Sometimes we think that just because God doesn’t feel close He isn’t.
But Isaiah 43:2 promises,
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.”
God may not choose to rescue us from our valley, but He will walk through it with us.
What is your perspective of God in hard times?
Wherever you are in your valley, please don’t blame God. Don’t shake your fist at Him. Don’t turn your back on Him.
Instead, turn to the pages of Scripture to remind you of who God is, and let these truths draw you closer to Him.