Suffering was meant to lead us to Jesus

Good morning, friends! This morning, my thoughts are drawn toward the goodness and faithfulness of God as I see more and more that He hasn’t always given me what I prayed for — or has He?

I wonder if sometimes, in our praying, we fail to recognize His answers? Why? Because often, the answers simply don’t come in the way we had anticipated or prayed for. The book of James tells us that we do not get, because we do not ask — or if we ask, we ask with wrong motives.

But, what if our asking is within God’s will? What then? Again, His ways are not our ways. Romans 8:28 says that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Those verses have been misunderstood so often. God’s Word does not say that all things feel good, but rather, they are for our good! There’s a million miles of difference there! How then, can we see what we perceive as a bad thing, and believe that it’s good? I’m glad you asked.

Since likely God isn’t going to change His perspective, the only option is for us to change ours. In our Bible study book, “Just Enough Light for the Step I’m On,” by Stormie Omartian, she says this: “God’s light does not blind us, but we can be blind to God’s light. We don’t always see the whole truth. Sometimes, we see everything but the truth.” I’d paraphrase and say this: We don’t see God’s way, because we’re convinced God must see it our way. Ahem, forgive us, Lord!

What if, instead of whining and pining over what we can see, what if, instead of asking, “What’s wrong with this picture,” why don’t we ask, “What’s right with this picture?” Maybe it feels better to whine awhile.

I have found it so freeing in my life recently to look at the brighter side. There’s enough darkness in this world today. God created us each with a specific purpose and plan in mind, but if we get stuck in disappointment, we’ll never live out our days to honor Him.

Instead, we’ll only be a shell of ourselves; sad, restless, resentful and dissatisfied until the day of our passing from here to glory. Saved because of our faith in Jesus, but a disappointment to ourselves, others and especially to the Lord. We were made for greater things.

You say you’ve tried this before and it doesn’t work? I can only speak for myself — when seeing things from God’s perspective isn’t working, it’s simply because I’m still hanging on to me and my ways. Is it an easy transition? No way! Are the rewards so worth it? Yes, and amen! We live with such a limited view of ourselves and the lives of others around us. Psalm 27:13 says: I would have lost heart, unless I believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. But Psalm 119:18 asks of God: Turn my eyes away from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way.

God’s way — let’s think about this for just a moment. Did He not send His One and Only Son to earth to walk among us, live a sinless life, yet be mocked, ridiculed, hated and crucified — all for us? He suffered greatly, at the hands of mankind. I realize God allowed it; Jesus gave in to it, but in our human sinful ways, we killed our Savior! Talk about a messed up perspective! Talk about our pride, our selfishness, our own perspective!

Something to ponder…if Jesus was so willing to embrace suffering for us so that we could be saved, why do we bulk at any form of suffering? If Jesus came to suffer for us, shouldn’t we open our hearts and minds to the idea that perhaps our lives will also involve suffering for Him?

It puts a whole new spin on suffering. Friends, this life is but a vapor. We are here and then gone. Again, speaking for myself (you get to answer to God for you), the more time in this life that I waste thinking about me and what I want or feel I deserve, the less time I (we) have to draw hearts to Jesus. And isn’t that why we are here anyway?

The next time your circumstances dictate a different path than you expected, stop and look around you for “What’s right with this picture.” Ask the Lord to show you. There just may be angels all around you, while you’re busy fighting off devils…of your own making.

Back to God’s mountain and our move here a year ago now. When I first came here, my heart was in shock and literally broken and unprepared for the grieving I would need to go through after living on the farm for nearly 40 years. On the other side of this grief, I see how the Lord answered such prayers as, “Lord, I’m tired,” and “Lord, I’m too busy to even think.” On this beautiful mountain of God, I am so blessed with the singing of birds continuously. I watch wildlife each day and marvel at the work of His hands. I do have time to think and rest now. God just knew that this is where He needed to put me, so that my life could be so much more God-focused and less about me. Thank You, Jesus! Yet, in a million years, I would not have dreamed it. Can I be honest and tell you the secret to this new perspective? I quit whining and wanting to return to what was familiar and comfortable. I embraced HIS plans for me! I can honestly say now, “What’s right with this picture” and answer, “Everything!”

I realize that some of you reading today are going through very painful suffering — the loss of a loved one or a broken relationship. For some of you, you’re fighting addictions. Many are so weary from the endless suffering of disease. Some of you suffer because you’ve never asked Jesus to be your Savior and Lord of your life. There is sin in your heart; pride, jealousy, anger, and hatred, to name a few. There’s so much wrong with all these pictures! May I simply say the best I know how – Jesus waits for you to come to Him, just the way you are, with all your brokenness, with all your pain, and He waits for you to lay it all at His feet; to be free of it all. So, what’s right with everything that’s wrong within you? Suffering was meant to lead us to Jesus. Today, I pray yours will. If and when you do, no matter where you reside, I promise you, there will be singing in heaven…and if you just be still and listen, you just may hear the singing of creation, even on a rainy day like today.


Debby Renninger is a freelance writer and inspirational speaker. She holds a Bible study in her home in McVeytown, where seeking women are always welcome. She may be reached at (717) 250-7086 for speaking engagements.


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