Hardships never come by easy. It’s difficult to see the good in any hardship we face, especially when all we see is the harm that it’s doing in our lives. Although it may seem that God’s grace and love are nowhere near our hardships, the very opposite is true. God’s grace still follows our hardships. There is grace hidden in hardships.
A friend recently asked me, why would a good God let us suffer?
While she saw suffering as a bad thing, I saw suffering as a good thing. Perspective changes everything, and perhaps it was our different experiences in life that made us see things differently.
But I too used to see suffering through the lens of her eyes. There was a time when I refused to live God’s way and chose to do things my way. I left home and every good thing that I once had, and pursued a relationship that God never intended for me to pursue.
I thought life would be great – I had the life that I wanted and the man that I at the time wanted to be with. But as each day went by, I slowly drifted farther away from God. Lie after lie, choice after choice, I finally found myself stripped away from the pure joy that can only be found in the Lord.
I found myself empty, lost, and bounded by the sins of my life. I was suffering.
But now when I look back at my life, I am thankful that God allowed me to suffer because it was in my suffering that I realized I needed God.
God will use our sufferings to draw us near to him.
Sometimes it’s only through hardships that will get our attention to God. While it may seem that my suffering was horrible on God’s part to allow, I see it as God’s grace. If he hadn’t allowed me to suffer the consequences of my sinful life, I would never have turned my life to him and found the true joy I have in God today.
God is a good God, even in the midsts of our sufferings. Regardless if our sufferings are caused by our own actions or just from life happening, God’s plans are always good and he always intends to use our suffering to glorify him at the end. Romans 8:18 says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
God can use the bad that happens in our lives and turn it for our good (Romans 8:28). The bad things in our lives become good when we surrender it all to God.
God will never force his way in our lives. The worst thing that God can do to us is to give us what we want. Romans 1:24 says, “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.” God gives us what we want to show us that the very thing we wanted will lead us to hardships and a destroyed life.
God’s grace allows us to suffer for our sins so that we would run back to him. The story of Jonah from the Bible shows God’s hidden grace in the midst of his suffering. Jonah refused to obey God by not sharing the word of God to the city of Nineveh. God didn’t force Jonah to go to Nineveh, but he did allow hardships to happen that would lead Jonah back to God. God allowed Jonah to suffer by being swallowed by a whale, but in his suffering, he went back to God again.
Jonah prayed to God in the midst of his suffering and said, “In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry.” (Jonah 2:2). At the end, because Jonah obeyed God, the whole city of Nineveh was saved and Jonah’s relationship with God was restored. If God hadn’t allowed Jonah to suffer the consequences of his own choices, Jonah would never have run back to God. It was God’s grace to allow Jonah to suffer.
If you are going through a season of hardship, trust God to take care of you. God hasn’t abandoned you in your sufferings; he is only using your suffering to draw you closer to him. God is always offering his arms of love wide open for you regardless of what you have done or where you’re at. His love endures for you. Psalm 136:12 says, “with a mighty hand and outstretched arm; His love endures forever.”
Run to God because he has plans to turn your hardships around. Just as God was able to use Jonah’s hardships and my own past for his glory, so does God plan to use your hardships for his good and glory. Use this opportunity of hardships to draw closer to God, and you will find true joy in him.
God is still with you even in your sufferings. If you would open your eyes and realize that God is consistently pursuing you to him. God will use people in your life to point you back to him and even your sufferings to zone you to the very arms of his love. So remember, there is grace hidden in hardships.