Are you experiencing severe hardships?
Nothing tends more to promote the body and soul’s health than does a spirit of gratitude and praise. It is a positive duty to resist melancholy, discontented thoughts, and feelings–as much a duty as it is to pray–Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p 251
“… Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!” Nehemiah 8:10
We have so much to be thankful for, even when we are experiencing severe hardships. The Bible instructs us to communicate with God daily through prayer, but do we include thanksgiving praises for suffering? It is easy to become sad and burdened by our trials and sorrows; even so, God desires that we develop a different approach when we pray, and that is to praise Him for allowing us to suffer.
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5
We are in the fight of our lives against sin. God has developed a fail-proof method of keeping us from sin’s wages, which is death. Suffering is the path that all must walk down for us to achieve spiritual growth and maturity. God’s Word reveals that suffering produces endurance, a righteous character, and hope for a brighter future. Now that we know the purpose of suffering, we can change our perspective and embrace God’s perfect plan.
Suffering produces spiritual growth!
Reaping the benefits of a new and improved character and unwavering faith can only be obtained through hardships. It is not God’s purpose to punish us. It is His purpose to prepare us for a perfect life without sin in the New Heaven and New Earth (Revelation 21-22). Changing our perspective of suffering, and embracing God’s perfect plan with faith and obedience will prepare us to receive our heavenly reward.
Have you ever picked vegetables from a garden? They are quite different from the store purchased vegetables that have been cleaned and polished. It takes careful and dutiful washing of hand-picked vegetables to remove the dirt, debris, and bugs. For those of us who did not perform the cleansing task well, the veggies that looked great and had a pleasing aroma also contained grit’s residue.
Our characters contain the residue of sin that requires many thorough cleanings. God does not force us to accept His will for our lives. Each of us has been given a “free will of choice” to trust and obey God by following His plan or developing and pursuing our desires. However, if we pray as King David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 then we can expect God to begin the cleansing process that will refine us according to Galatians 5:22-23: But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
If we desire to serve God, we align our desires according to His plans, including a life with hardships, sorrows, tests, and trials. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? Hebrews 12:7. God is love; therefore, His plans have the intent and purpose to remove the residue of sin as we pursue righteousness by faith.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
No, Spiritual cleansing and discipline will never feel good, but if we pray, praise, obey, and trust in God, we will receive blessings from having a pure heart. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Matthew 5:8. God has promised us the blessing of Eternal life in the New Heaven and New Earth. Trust His process; approach life with a spirit of gratitude by praying, praising, and thanking a loving and patient God who desires that none are lost.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
Bible Reading: Hebrews 12
God, we thank you for the discipline of hardships. We desire to have pure hearts and characters that are pleasing to you. We ask forgiveness of our sins. Thank you for your never-ending grace and mercies that you freely give to us, although we have done nothing to deserve them. Please give us the strength to endure as we prepare for Eternal life. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the author’s written permission.