"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil. 4:12 NKJV).
When we are in times of deep suffering, we feel like God has gone absent, that He doesn’t see us. We think God doesn’t see when we don’t have enough money or the times we were passed over for a promotion. Maybe you think, “I’m not good enough,” when your spouse leaves without an explanation. Perhaps, someone close to you has died, and you battle dark thoughts to make sense of it. You may be struggling in your relationship with a child to the point where you question your ability to parent. Suffering is part of the life of every believer. But nobody likes to suffer. Trust me, I know.
One of my friends calls these times “un-preferred.” Another friend calls it “being in the back and beyond.” I call it “training time.” I had experienced a time when I believed I was unworthy of love, friendship, and making money. Yeah, my self-esteem was gone. Life dealt me some blows: I couldn’t find a job after graduate school. Then I found a job that didn’t pay me enough to live. I felt like God was calling me into so much more. I couldn’t get over the hump to get to what I knew was my destiny. I watched many of my friends get jobs that paid well, and family members take vacation trips.
I found myself constantly asking God, “What about me?” Most times, He didn’t answer (or so I thought). I talked to friends praying that they would say something to help me figure out how to get to a place of abundance. If a prophet came to my church, I prayed for a Word from the Lord. Any small word so that I could keep moving. If I got a word from the prophet, I would hold onto it until the subsequent disappointment swamped me. I began to expect disappointment. Through these trials, I took up journaling. I recorded the heartache and pain. I started to slay the giants of disappointment and fear in my life. I began to see God at work and that I could do everything through Him who strengthens me (Phil.4:12).
During my training season, I learned:
I am valuable and add value to others (1 Peter 4:10, NLT)
Skills to listen to others with empathy and to pray earnestly (1 Peter 4:7-8, NLT)
To speak in front of a large group and not be afraid (1 Peter 4:11, NLT)
To be grateful and recognize God is working behind the scenes (Philippians 4:12)
To appreciate the small things-even, the flowers everyone else calls weeds
To look at my delayed desires as blessings, understanding God is protecting me from something with the delay.
God is refining me to be pure gold (Zechariah 13:9)
God rewards those who love Him (1 Peter 1:6-7, 3:13-14 NLT)
When I fall into a cycle of asking, “What about me?” I rehearse my victories during my training season. I remember that Jesus died for me, and with him, I win. Finally, I remind myself that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek (Hebrews 11:6 KJV).
Lord, as we go through a season of suffering where we feel forgotten, please let us know that You are there and remind us of the good things we have learned about ourselves and others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Your Turn: Can you think of a time when you asked God any of these questions? — “What about me? When will it be my turn? Why did you let this happen to me? Why God, why?
If so, how did things turn out? Please share any nuggets of wisdom. If you’re still in a season of waiting, how can we pray for you?