Suffering is unavoidable. It is a part of life that cannot be avoided, no matter how hard we try to escape it. For suffering brings pain, agony, turmoil, grief, sorrow, misery and separation. Suffering is uncomfortable and irritable. It is difficult to undergo such turbulence, much less with a joyful disposition. Yet Scripture calls believers to find joy and contentment in the midst of sorrow (i.e. Romans 5:3-5, 8:18).
The words of Horatio G. Spafford speak so much truth about how our hearts should be in tune with Christ. “When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul. It is well, with my soul, It is well, it is well, with my soul. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control, That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul. It is well, with my soul, It is well, it is well, with my soul.”
It is hard to remember that God knows what is best and that His timing always prevails. The trials and tribulations we face in life are not what any of us would have chosen but we are imperfect human beings and our plans or timing of things often times conflict with that of our Father’s. Suffering is a beautiful reminder that we do not have to understand why God chooses to allow certain circumstances to fall upon us. The only thing we need know and accept is that God is Sovereign and He is good and in control, although it may seem quite the contrary. He has our best interest in mind, despite the sadness or difficulty of our current situation. He knows what is best, not us. What I have been able to realize is that God’s plan is better than anything that I could ever image for myself. That He will bless me beyond compare in the future and I anticipate that with joy. But the process of waiting upon the Lord is difficult and sometimes painful.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and fine me, when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:11-13. Our prayers cannot alter what God has already ordained but it can change the way our hearts and minds view our present situation. When we alter our mindset so that it mirrors the heart of God, we stop taking the sweet moments in life for granted and begin to be grateful for what we already have. It is only when our hearts have joyfully accepted the suffering that God has ordained that our trials and tribulations become well with our souls.