When you go through suffering, one of the first questions we tend to ask is why is this happening? If you're a Christian, you are definitely asking God, "why is this happening to me?" or "why are you allowing this trial in my life?" In Laura Story's book When God Doesn't Fix It, she urges us not to get stuck in the "why" questions but start thinking about the "hows." For instance, "How can God be glorified through my suffering?" "How can I be used to help others that are suffering?" It's when we can get past our present sufferings and ask God how he might use them for good that we may be able to find some peace in the midst of our circumstances.
I've definitely asked God many times over the years why he has allowed depression to plague me. I may never know the full answers until I get to heaven, and then it might not matter anymore. It's one of the thorns in my flesh that God has given me so that I must fully rely on him. Paul talks about this in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9.
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. —NIV
I find this passage especially helpful when thinking about what is ailing me. How many times have I pleaded with God to take my anxiety and depression away? More than I can count. But by being honest here to you friends I can boast in my weakness and tell you that God has pulled me through every time.
Laura mentions in her book, "How does my story fit into the greater story of redemption?" It's a great question. If your going through suffering now I pray for God to give you comfort and for him to lead you in helping others who are hurting as well.
God can use suffering to strengthen marriages. It has strengthened Daniel and mine for sure. Through physical and mental pain we have become very close.
If you're currently going through a serious trial ask yourself what Laura Story did. "How might God use this for his glory? How can God use this pain for a purpose? How might God make this mess into a message for others?"
I know that I have a much deeper understanding and empathy for those struggling with sickness of any kind including mental and physical pain. What I have experienced I hate to think anyone else would have to go through. I pray that whatever you may be going through or find yourself going through in the future that you can come back to this blog and find comfort and know God has you and will see this trial through for you.