written by Terri Althoff

          I dedicate this piece to my children who have suffered more than enough, to my mother in law who has suffered more than enough and to all of those who are dear to my heart or those who I pray for daily that I do not even know, who suffer more than enough.  The story is based on a few words of inspiration spoken to me by my dear friend in Christ when I was in the midst of facing the most horrific trial of my life.  He helped me to stand strong and steadfast, to trust unconditionally and to always be faithful no matter what I was facing then or what I would face in times to come.  Thank you Steve and God Bless!

                One might ask the question of Christians who face suffering of strife, “How can your suffering be so deep and yet your faith never falters?”  This is a question of many who suffer greatly but have not the faith to withstand it.

                The word tells us of a holy and faithful man named Job.  This is truly a story of what happens when bad things happen to good people.  The story shows us the life of an innocent man involved in a cosmic test, a contest proposed in heaven but staged on earth.  Satan challenged God using the most faithful man on earth to suffer the worst of trials.  Satan truly felt that if he put this man through the worst of sufferings that surely Job would turn his back on God.  But no matter how great the suffering Jobs faith did not falter, he continued to trust God even though his world kept falling apart.  His friends mocked him, his wife even asked him why he was still holding onto his integrity.  She felt that Job should just curse God and die (2:9).  This man was a man of true faith and belief in a loving and fair God.  And although terrifying, confusing and at times horrifying, Job continued to P.U.S.H. forward.

                It happens to the best of us from the non-believer to the believer of even the strongest faith.  Our world is terrific one minute and the next our world comes crashing down before our very eyes leaving us confused and scared.  Nothing that once made sense is comprehensible.  God seems distant and silent. 

                For the believer, no matter the amount of suffering, we accept the good and the bad.  We know that although at times our suffering may be great, God will not give us more than we can handle.  He loves us and does not want our suffering to be great.  And although we ask the question then of why would he allow us to suffer if he does not want to hurt us we need to remember that the Lord loves us so very much and he wants only for us to trust and believe in him, to turn our hearts and minds on him and to ask him to come into our lives loving and protecting us.

                We read in James 5:11 “Blessed are those who have persevered” and are reminded that we should be inspired not by the accounts of Jobs suffering but by his example of endurance through each trial that he faced.

                We must remember too that no mater what we face we should praise God, because he will give us restoration and deliverance.  We are to rejoice that we participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that we may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. (1Peter4:12)

                When a Christian bears suffering he begins to feel inadequate about him/herself.  One feels that their suffering is due in part to something that they did wrong in the eyes of God and are being punished for it.  We all feel this way when our suffering seems long and never ending.  We ask “What have I done God that I am being punished for?  What are you trying to show me Lord?”

                It is quite often felt that God is trying to teach each of us a lesson or show us something through our suffering.  Yes, God does try to impart instruction in our lives but this does not mean that he has brought difficulty on us in order that we be punished. 

                God is in control of the intensity and time of our trials.  He uses our trials and sufferings for a specific purpose.  Our trials are designed to meet a certain need that God sees in our life.  If we respond in faith these trials and sufferings will prove to be for our good and ultimately will strengthen our faith.

                Our trials provide an opportunity for God to demonstrate his power to sustain us under great pressure.  It is the process of creating and developing Christ like characteristics in each of us.  These trials also provide each of us an opportunity to measure our spiritual growth.

                Through times of suffering and trial we need to remember that God will walk us through every single step.  Often when in the midst of my trials and suffering I go to the picture on the wall of my bedroom.  I find on that picture a beautiful scene on the beach with footprints in the sand.  When my suffering, pain and strife is more than I think I can handle I read the lines...”God, you said you’d stay by me in good times and bad. Why then did you leave me each time my life was sad?”... “My precious child,” God answered, “When your life had pain, I knew; the single set of footprints were the times I carried you.”  It is then that I am able to regain the strength to push forward.  Christ told us in Hebrews 13:5 that he would never leave us or forsake us.  He loves us so much and if we would only lay it at his feet without worry and strife he will help us to overcome.  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8.   It is by his grace and enabling power of the Holy Spirit that we will be conquerors.

                God does not want us to be devastated by any trial because he is in control!  As Twila Paris sings “There is no power above or beside him, God is in control”   1 Peter 5 tells us to cast all of our anxieties upon him because he cares for us.  He loves us and wants us to stand firm in our faith and trust in him with all of our hearts for he is the truth, the way and the light.

                We ask ourselves then what the reason for our pain is, what is the purpose and how are we to respond?  Simply spoken, the Lord wants us to cast our cares upon him because he loves us so much.  He wants us to trust him in every aspect of our life standing firm in our faith.  The bible tells us to trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding,  We are not to let our hearts be troubled, but simply to trust.  He loves you and bore your pain on the cross on the day that he suffered for our sake that we may be given new life.

                Once again I reflect on Job.  God allowed Satan to try Job by instilling many trials and sufferings in his life.  Satan specifically asked Gods permission to attack Job.  God allowed this, but warned Satan that Jobs life must be spared.  He allowed Satan to inflict pain and suffering but he would not allow more than Job could handle.

                This stands true for each of our lives.   The Lord wants us to need him.  He wants us to learn to trust him instead of trusting and relying on our selves.  Instead of relying on the things of the earth the Lord wants us to become totally dependent on him, to allow him to intervene in our lives that we might be more like Christ.  As Christians we tend to only be dependent on the Lord when we need things.  We feel that we can take care of ourselves.  My friends, this is not the way our Lord wants us to live!

                Ask yourself these few simple questions, “Do I stray and wonder?” or “Do I lay it at the Lords feet and ask him to take it from me?”  Thought about we find that we often do stray and wonder.  We think that we can take on the world and handle anything, that is until we are faced with pain and devastation.  And then we fall on our knees asking the Lord why this has happened to us and why has he seemed to disappear from our lives.  My friends, the Lord has not hidden himself away from us.  He wants us to go to him, to ask him into our hearts and ask him to take our troubles and burdens away from us.  We just need to ask!

                The trials and sufferings we face are given to us as a grim reminder that we must depend on him.  He will give us problems that we cannot solve or needs that we cannot meet for this very reason.  The Lord desires the very best for us and at times changes the circumstances in our lives.  Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but no matter the intensity of our pain and strife, we cannot give up even while in the most difficult times of our life.  Instead of relying on our own feelings in times of trial and suffering, we must remember to trust our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

                One of my most favorite Ann Murray songs begins as  “When you’re down and troubled and you need some love and care and nothin’, nothin’ is goin’ right.  Close your eyes and think of me and soon I will be there to brighten up even your darkest night.” ...  The Lord want us to call out his name and trust that he will be there.  He is always here for us and wants nothing more than to take our burdens and afflictions away from us, if only we would remember to ask.  Call his name out loud!  He, my friends,  is the one friend that you hope for your entire life and the one friend who you will always be greatful for in your life.  He is your friend and he is there just waiting.  Stop relying on your own feelings in times of trial and always remember who we can trust.

                The Psalmist tells us in Psalm 23 that we must go through the valleys of death.  It is during transition that we are transformed.  God will purposefully not allow anything to satisfy us until we seek transformation from him.  He wants to restore our lives, to make us whole and new.

                We must remember that the Lord may allow Satan to cause the trials and sufferings that are happening in your life, but he can never get into your spirit.  Jesus beat Satan with his word and did not rely on his feelings and wants when he was tempted in Matthew 4:1-11.  We as     Christian believers should also not allow ourselves to rely on our feelings as they are our number one enemy!

                Job was given the choice to either hurt or to trust.  Through the deepest of trials he chose to trust.  It didn’t seem right or fair that he had to suffer so deeply.  It doesn’t seem fair for us today to have to suffer and endure pain.  It isn’t fair for our loved ones to have to suffer.  But no matter what hardships we face, what hurt we feel or how deep our suffering is, we must trust our Lord.  We must give it to him, lay it at his feet and allow his mighty works to be done in our lives.          

                We need to P.U.S.H. forward with a confident heart.  Pray Until Something Happens and in times of suffering give God the praise and glory.  God has a wonderful plan for each of our lives and with each passing day he takes us a little closer to a much better place than where we came from.  God promises us his infinite love no matter where we are at in our lives.  He will not leave you or forsake you.  Pray Until Something Happens knowing where you are headed, but always remembering how far you have come.

                Just P.U.S.H. and if you believe you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. (Matthew 21:22).



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