Getting Through Life’s Toughest Times
By Mark A. Finley
Her voice trembled. Tears ran down her cheeks, and through her painful sobs she blurted out one word: “Why?” Then: “Why did God allow this to happen to me?”
This godly woman had recently experienced incredible sorrow in her life. She experienced what no one should ever have to go through. She asked a good question. The problem was that I didn’t have a good answer. In fact, the answer to the question of why bad things happen to good people lies hidden in the mystery of the great controversy between good and evil. We will have to wait until eternity before we fully have the answer to the why question.
But we can know two things for sure: First, God is with us in our pain, encouraging, supporting, and sustaining us. Second, in ways we may never understand, God often uses pain inflicted by the evil one to accomplish His larger purposes. Of course, God is neither responsible for nor the author of sorrow and suffering. But He can use even the worst of times to accomplish something remarkable in our lives.
This month’s Bible lesson will probe these two aspects of human suffering: God’s presence and God’s purpose.
1. Read Psalms 34:4; 40:17; 46:1; 61:1, 2. As David faced some of life’s most challenging moments, what was his unwavering testimony?
David’s life was not free from trials. He experienced sorrow, trauma, and heartache. David had his share of tears. But through it all, he found comfort and strength in the presence of God. He had the assurance that God had not forsaken Him in life’s toughest times.
2. When the nation of Israel experienced bitter disappointment and heartbreak, what hopeful words did the prophet Isaiah speak in Isaiah 41:10 to assure it of God’s presence?
Isaiah’s reassuring promise rings in our ears and encourages our hearts. This promise is for us.
3. Read Matthew 28:20 and Hebrews 13:6. What promises do we have in the New Testament of our Lord’s everlasting presence with His people?
4. Read Job 13:15. How does Job weigh in on relating to life’s trials?
Job had absolute confidence that an all-wise God understood his pain and would somehow get him through it. Job focused his attention on the God who was with him, not the pain that afflicted him. If we focus on our pain, we will be filled with greater pain, but if we focus on God’s presence in our suffering, we will receive new strength to move on beyond the pain.
5. Read Genesis 50:20. What conclusion did Joseph come to regarding the deeper purpose of his abandonment and betrayal by his jealous brothers?
Joseph had absolute confidence that God had a larger purpose in his captivity. He did not become angry and resentful over what his brothers had done to him. He looked for God’s larger purpose, and God used him to save his people in a time of famine.
6. Read 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4. What encouragement did the apostle Paul share for all who go through tribulation and trials?
The universal testimony of Scripture is abundantly plain: God does not abandon us in our suffering. He is there in our trials to strengthen and sustain us. He provides comfort in our sorrows so that we will be able to share His comfort with others who suffer.
When you experience pain, look to the One who is the source of all comfort. He will never disappoint you; His comfort is yours today.