I never imagined that I would be the one to land in the hospital with covid and yet this past September, that is exactly where I found myself. The doctors didn’t paint a pretty picture and seemed to be fairly concerned. I know my family was horribly worried about me and I understood why. Even as I was in the hospital, several people we knew were in hospitals across the US, fighting for their lives with this nasty virus. And a few of them lost the battle. Men and women of great faith, gone too soon.
I’m not sure if it was naivety or faith or some combination of the two on my part, but I never felt the fear brought on by deep worry. The doctors would come in everyday the first couple of weeks and look dismayed as they reported that I wasn’t doing any better. But I just knew that I knew that I was in the palm of God’s hand at that I would recover. And I have, albeit much slower than I would have hoped for.
In the midst of suffering we often tend to assume that God is absent or far off, but we have to be willing to actually ask the question: Where is God in all of my my sickness, my worry, my financial struggles, my troubled relationships? When we look at his word, we discover the answer to this question in 1 Peter 5:10: “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”
I spent much of my time recovering imagining the truth of that verse. Can you see that God is with us in it all? He knows what we are going through but he has a plan to “strengthen and establish” us. What a beautiful truth to know. Yet, there are times when we probably still ask the question “But why do I have to suffer at all, even a little while seems like too much?” I certainly felt that way many times during my three month long recovery process.
Believe it or not, it is out of God’s love for us that he allows us to go through hard times. Suffering is an attention getter that invites us to press in to God and learn to rely on him more fully. If we are willing to learn, adversity teaches us who we are and reveals the depth of our trust in our Heavenly Father. Think about it, faith is easy when life is easy. In the trials we have to work through we can learn that God can, and does, faithfully sustain us. And in my post-covid life, I still believe in the truth of this.
As we push through our hardships and learn to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord” (2 Peter 3:18), the Father also uses our suffering as a testimony and encouragement to those around us. Just as we see other people overcoming and are inspired by it, those who are watching us walk through difficulties are impacted by what they see. If we will fully rely on God through the difficulties of our lives, we will not only find encouragement but we will become encouragement for others as well.
Trust today that God is working it all out for our good and his glory! Look for the lessons as you walk through your adversity and take note of what God reveals to you during that time. He is always faithful.
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