One evening I had what was like a vision. I was standing up and praying and then I saw the Lord Jesus standing before me. This has only happened a few brief times in my life where I have seen Him. On this night I don’t remember any details of what He looked like, only what I heard.
He held out His hands to hold mine. I was given an opportunity to ask Him one question, any question I wanted to ask Him. I asked the Lord a question with but a single word, “why”? It is the one question that I think most of us would ask. Why God has allowed suffering into our life.
The Lord answered me with only a few words, “To draw you closer to Myself”. This completely wrecked me. That with a few words I gained a spiritual understanding I never thought possible. That with just a few words in a brief moment He gave me an understanding about years of my suffering.
I learned this night that through a short period of suffering, though it lasts a lifetime, that I would be closer to the Lord Jesus, and this was the most precious truth I had ever heard. I hate to suffer, but I embrace what it produces in me.
If from a lifetime of suffering you would gain eternal life, that you would be nearer to the Lord Jesus Christ, and even be useful in ministering to others, be sure that the exchange rate is arguably worth it.
Jesus loves you so much, that there is no suffering He would withhold from you if it would draw you nearer to Himself. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory…” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
The Lord Jesus blesses us with trials that draw us closer to Himself.
Never ask for God’s favor thinking it is favor from the world’s view. God’s favor is to do a work in us, and sometimes that work involves a tearing down.
When you see how circumstances draw you nearer to God, then you will understand God’s plans more clearly. “…so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27).
His plans are always good, whether we see it or not.
Never question His methods knowing His motives are always pure.
In your natural life, all your efforts are to gain independence. In your spiritual life, God must break your independence such that you would depend upon Him. The harder you resist, the harder must be the lesson. “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart and saves such as have a contrite spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
God sometimes must break you before He can pour through you.
Do not measure the love of God by your suffering but measure your suffering in light of the love of God. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).
Nothing precious comes easy. Nothing worthwhile is without price. If suffering ends, praise God for the healing. If suffering remains, praise God for growing you in the trial. If suffering increases, praise God who is choosing to do a greater work in you.
Consider that the reason for your troubles are that you would cry out for Christ. “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry entered His ears” (2 Samuel 22:7).
Suffering is the window through which we call out to God.
Kingdom principles rarely make sense according to the logic of the world.
If you won’t accept His rebuke, then don’t ask for His counsel. Otherwise, simply let His word have its perfect way in you, whether it hurts or not. “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives” (Hebrews 12:5-6).
Jesus is not in the business of making your moments all happy, but in drawing you near to Himself.
The journey to be in Christ is not a thousand miles, but a single turn.
You don’t have to change to draw near to Him, but He will change you when you are near. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” (James 4:8).
Blessings to you,
All Scripture is in red and uses the NKJV (New King James Version) translation unless otherwise noted.