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Did it have to happen that way?

We have all seen it happen. One Day, everything just hits all at once and the word devastation simply isn't strong enough to describe. You may wonder what you've done to deserve such pain. It is difficult to accept that suffering, at some point in life, is unavoidable. We may never understand why a painful situation had to happen the way it did.

Even in our suffering, we can be sure that we have hope in Christ Jesus. He is totally sovereign over our lives. And while we are sure to have times of hurt, in that pain, God has already arranged a way for us to grow through it and find peace and joy. More importantly, He has allowed our pain so that we would reach for Him and know Him better. God wants us to trust Him. He wants our dependence on Him through the good times and the bad times. Jesus promises us that we will have trouble in this world. And while we certainly have had a share of trouble, we can take heart because He has overcome the pain, sorrow and evil of this world.

"I have told you these things so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But, take heart, I have overcome the world." John 16:33

In my life, I have suffered. Some say it is an ungodly amount of suffering. I vehemently disagree! All of my suffering is a godly amount of suffering in which I can see God working in incredible and indescribable ways. For years, I was so chronically ill that I could not function well without immense medical intervention, management, and medications. The day to day struggle to mitigate the symptoms of my rare disease was taxing at times. Compounding my illness was a struggling business, marriage, and extenuating family circumstances that made life really quite hard. A few years ago, I was at the end of my rope like so many others who suffer. I began to take stock of what had become of my life. What I discovered during my survey, was the mighty ways that God had blessed me through it all! He had provisioned just the right amount of grace for each day to keep moving forward and trusting Him. How amazing is that? What should I do with that sweet truth?

Well, I began to minister to other women who were dealing with similar issues. At first, I met many ladies by happenstance who shared a similar story as mine. I was encouraged that we were not alone in our suffering. Soon, we were bearing each other's burdens and faithfully ministering to each other. As it turns out, God had brought us through trials and He was glorified by our later ministry to one another. From this perspective, I was eager to see what God would do as trials would come. I began to approach them with a sort of excitement to see what God would do with them rather than in fear of how they would negatively affect me.

God has brought me much joy. Maybe not in the way you'd expect, but it has been a perfect peace that He promises in His Word (Isaiah 26:3.) Not only perfect peace, but also perfect contentment and perfect comfort. Most of all joy in knowing that he will deliver us from affliction. There is contentment in our testimony as we share with those in need the truth of the Gospel and the promises that God will indeed prevail.

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