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The Bible tells us plainly that God has designed that times of pain and trouble in our lives sanctify us, make us more like Christ (Romans 5:3-4). So, when other believers are going through a valley of trouble we like to remind them that God is using this for good. Which is true because Romans 8:28 tell us so. We like to remind them that God uses suffering to draw us closer to Him (Psalm 34:18). And some believers do feel drawn closer to God during those dark times. But that is not always true. There are times of suffering that feel, well, just like suffering. There is no seemingly discernable straight line towards Jesus that creates a warm, fuzzy glow of growth and good. There are times for believers when we experience suffering of such a nature that we find that the loneliness, the brokenness of heart, and emotional pain never leaves us for long. We feel as if God has deserted us, blinded His eyes to our hurt and deafened His ears to our cries. We seek a mountain top experience of closeness to God in our suffering but instead we feel more like we are hanging to the edge of a cliff by our fingernails.

Sure, there are believers who go through suffering and feel God's closeness and respond in strong faith and loud praise. But sometimes suffering can knock a believer for a loop. They can now sympathize with Job who said, "For the thing I greatly feared has came upon me, and what dreaded has happened to me. I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; f have no rest, for trouble comes." Job 3:25-26" He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone; My hope has uprooted like a tree." (Job 19:10). Is there growth through suffering for a believer? Yes, but not all believers can feel or see it because their suffering is so great all they feel or see is their suffering Even David, the man after God's own heart, said, "For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before Your eyes"; Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications when I cried out to You." (Psalm 31:22). And they need to know that it is okay to feel that way. It does not mean God is not there or that He does not care. As fellow believers, we are to come alongside and weep with them (I Corinthians 12:26 ) reminding each other that we are not alone. We have each other and we always have our God keeping us safe within His hands (John 10:28 -29) no matter the greatness of our suffering or the feeling of helplessness or loneliness. "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5) Trust the promise when you cannot trust in anything or anyone else.

Bro. Mike

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