August 21, 2014 by Jen Cudmore
This summer I read another book by Pastor James MacDonald, a man who I greatly admire, called When Life Is Hard. I didn’t consider my life particularly hard, but I got the book for free and since I love his podcasts and books, I decided to give it a try.
I was unprepared for how deeply God would speak to my heart.
How do we make sense of suffering? Pastor James talks about a period in his life where everything seemed to go wrong. He shares his struggles and encourages others to press on and remain faithful.
+ God wants us to remain under the pressure, not seek to get out from under it. He wants us to trust Him, to grow our faith, to seek Him for the strength to go on.
+ God has a purpose for our pain. He wants to refine us and make us better, to change our conduct and our character.
+ God longs for us to understand the depth of his affection for us, and trials are a way of getting our attention so we’ll turn to Him. He loves us so deeply and feels our pain.
+ God intends to make us holy, as He’s called us to be. Difficulties bring us to a place of submission so we’re focused on Him and not ourselves.
+ God blesses those who seek His face and not just his benefits. Faith and patience are essential as we walk the rough terrain – with Him.
Pastor James uses a lot of scripture to encourage readers to remember: as we go through the Refiner’s fire, the pain is momentary, but the profit is immense.
“… when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”
Summary: When life is hard, when things get ugly, when all hope seems to be lost… that is when we are able to display the superiority of the life lived in God. It is in those moments of despair, when we question what is happening, when we don’t know what to do, when some trials never seem to end, that we can lean most heavily on God’s promises and truths.
Working his way through five questions we’ve all had run through our heads, trusted pastor James MacDonald helps us understand what we should do now. We begin the journey by looking at different types of “trials,” figuring out exactly what we’re dealing with, and recognizing that God certainly knows. Second, the obvious question: “Why?” God sees us going through trials and we long for two things: for them to be over and to know why they happened in the first place. Next, we need to know what to do with these trials when they come (and they will most certainly come). Fourth, we have all wondered it, can trials be refused? Are God’s purposes really being fulfilled in the midst of this trying time? And lastly, God reveals Himself to us through these trials…and sometimes, they just don’t ever end. Why doesn’t this trial go away?
God told us to expect trials—don’t be surprised when they come. Grow when they come. Find hope when they come.
©Jen Cudmore 2014, All Rights Reserved
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