As of late, I have been bombarded with negative events and suffering. This has been eye opening to me because it has tested my spirit, joy and constitution. I know that it is a test of my faith and I know that is always good. You see, I believe that every test is a way to grow closer to Jesus and to grow stronger as a witness of His love and joy. E. Stanley Jones speaks to the issue many times in his daily meditation book The Way. “You can react in self-pity and frustration; or you can react with confidence and courage and allow the evil thing (issues, events, suffering) to make you better.” It is not the “thing” that takes you down, but your reactions.
“Sorrow plows the field for God’s sowing and our harvest.”
In my darkest moments in the past several years, I turned to God for relief. I found that He could give me the grace to endure and the comfort to ease whatever it was I had to deal with. God speaks to us in the darkest of valleys. “You can see the stars, even in the daytime, from the bottom of a well.” If we look at the dark rain clouds above they appear very dark. If you flew above them in an airplane they would be white. There is nothing in life that is dark when viewed from above.
I know that for me, self-pity appears immediately when faced with trouble or hurt. It is so easy to say to oneself that you don’t deserve this and that you are being put upon or that the suffering is too great and that people should see you as a victim.
I have a friend who has been in severe pain for over 30 years. She says that laughter is what heals. She seeks out laughter and joy and does not want self-pity. She seeks to comfort others with her knowledge of pain. You might say she is hiding from the pain, but I would say that she has Jesus to comfort her each day and that she spreads that comfort to others. She does not share that the pain is sometimes so great she cannot get out of bed. No one knows that about her because she does not want to be pitied.
Stanley shares, “A mother lost her son, turned inward in self-pity. This self-pity produced pains, and she’s a chronic invalid with everybody babying her. She is a festering place in the family.”
“Two men look out through the same bars:
One sees the mud, and one sees the stars.”
“Two people face loss. One limps into Life, the other limps into death. A pastor lost a loved daughter, and his reaction was, ‘I’ll now have to laugh enough for two.’ As he did.”
God is trying each of us to be strong in adversity because He wants us to totally depend on Him and to put on His Spirit in all things. We can then be a witness for Him in this world. We are to make a new world out of the old one. Jesus’ suffering on the cross is a perfect demonstration of taking evil and converting it into a good. A Chinese proverb says, “If fate throws a dagger at you, there are two places to take hold of the dagger – by the blade or by the handle.”
The difficulties and the suffering I have endured over the past several years have been a door to Jesus and a door to hope. I admit that I have not always been strong, but I have always been in prayer and pleading for grace. Jesus has never disappointed me. In fact, He has opened new doors to new hearts and given me so many souls to speak to of His hope. I can’t tell you how that makes me feel to be an instrument of His peace and hope.
Charles Spurgeon wrote:
For this life’s long night of sadness
He will give us peace and gladness.
Soul, remember, in your pains,
God o’er all forever reigns.
This may be one of the most important messages that you can share with your adult children. Do not be afraid to admit your weaknesses and pain and the hope that allows you to endure. Your children will seek you when they have pain…maybe. This is another legacy that must not be hidden, but revealed in perfect authenticity and truth. Give your children the hope that Jesus has revealed to you.
Download The Master’s Plan!
This is a book about transforming your family legacy – both today and in generations to come. It is for Christian families who want to eliminate estate and capital gains taxes, maintain their current lifestyle, pass on an appropriate inheritance to their heirs, maximize giving to worthy ministries, create healthier family relationships and leave a lasting legacy to impact God’s kingdom.
By Joe Sturniolo
Christian Family Legacy and Wealth Planning
Joe believes that stronger families are the vehicle God uses to bring about significant impact for His Kingdom.