Philippians 1:19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.
Be it physical pain, heartache, or the monotonous routines of life, there are innumerable reasons for which men despair. To gain the strength needed to persevere through these difficult times, one must first find his or her purpose. Paul suffered greatly at the hands of his captors, but he never lost sight of the reason for his hardships. The thorn in his flesh gave him chronic troubles. Though he begged God to remove his pain, God did not relent.
One can only imagine how frustrating this must have been for Paul. He could raise the dead and cure all manner of disease, but he could not cure himself. Of course God did not lack the power to help Paul, but alleviation was not in His will. What did Paul do to deserve such harshness from God? Paul dedicated his life to spreading the gospel and was endlessly faithful to God, yet his prayers for comfort would not be answered. It is clear Paul wrestled with this predicament. Three times he asked for relief from God and three times God responded that His Grace was sufficient. It is often difficult to understand the suffering in this world, including that which we endure in our own lives. When the pain persists, it is difficult not to question God’s plan. Many pull from God when life gets hard and their pleas remain unanswered. As someone who deals with the chronic pain from a rare form of arthritis, I know this struggle personally.
Those whom the Lord has called to Him cannot run forever, for one cannot truly find rest in anything but God. I wish I had the ability to alleviate suffering. Whether you live a faithful life with God or faith is something with which you struggle, in the end you must accept that life does not always go as planned. It is not enough to simply accept our troubles. We must also come to see the divine purpose in our suffering. When you’re going through trials, it is often difficult to see that purpose. However, with faith you will see that God has not stopped loving you, and the pain He allows comes first through His hand of love and mercy. Never stop asking Him to work in your life or to alleviate your pain, but know too that life isn’t always about getting the answer you want. It is in continuously seeking God that you will find peace. Paul found his purpose in the service of the gospel and loving the Christians that caused him so much frustration. Just as Paul realized his purpose, with God, you will find yours as well.
Discovering the purpose God has for you will help you through the difficult times ahead. Life will always have its ups and downs, but if we believe that hardships have meaning, perhaps we won’t feel so alone or overwhelmed. We must always remember that God has a plan. Though I struggle daily to believe that truth, it is something that gives me hope, and it is with just a bit of hope and faith that we are able to do great things.
About the Author: I am a Birmingham attorney who has been in private practice for over six years. I have a general practice, so I get the opportunity to help serve people who find themselves in some very difficult circumstances. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope it encourages you. I always love getting thoughtful comments so please email those to me. My website is www.reidlawalabama.com.