Never give up on God

Have you ever felt alone? Crushed by life? Abandoned by friends? Does your heart feel pain and emptiness because of a death or divorce? Do you feel so overloaded by financial burdens or health problems that, at times, you wonder if life should go on? If the hurt seems overwhelming, and the loneliness is just too much, remember, you are not alone.

Just like with the men and women of the Bible, God sees our pain. No matter what our situation is, He gives us what He gave them.

He gives companionship through His presence (Hebrews 13:5-6: “…For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you. So we may boldly say: The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me”)?

He gives direction through His word (John 8:31-32: “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free”).

And if we follow His directions, He gives us this promise – that we will always have a place with Him.

John 14:1-3: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

So the next time you wonder if He cares, or you wonder why God has not taken away your pain, remember – nothing comes into our lives that does not pass through His hands first – our pain is in His heart.

Understand that God does something much more than take away our pain, He goes through it with us (Isaiah 43:2 – “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you”).

Isaiah 43:5 – “Fear not, for I am with you…”

Even if it seems that He has not taken away the pain you may have, He may be using that pain to send a message either to you or to others around you. He did it with Jesus:

Hebrews 5:8 – “…though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” He’ll do it with us.

What is God telling us? The problems we face will either “defeat” us or “develop” us – depending on how we respond to them. Unfortunately most people fail to see how God wants to use problems for good in their lives. They react foolishly and resent their problems rather than pausing to consider what benefit they might bring. Here are “five ways” God wants to use the problems in our lives:

God uses problems to “direct” us. Sometimes God must light a fire under us to get us moving. Problems often point us in a new direction and motivate us to change. Is God trying to get your attention? “Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways” (Proverbs 20:30). GNT

God uses problems to “inspect” us. It’s been said that “People are like tea bags. If you want to know what’s inside them, just drop them into hot water!”

Has God ever tested your faith with a problem? What do problems reveal about you?

“When you have many kinds of troubles, you should be full of joy, because you know that these troubles test your faith, and this will give you patience” (James 1:2-3). NCV

God uses problems to “correct” us. Some lessons we learn only through “pain” and “failure.” It’s likely that as a child your parents told you not to touch a hot stove. But you probably learned by being burned. Sometimes we only learn the value of something – health, money, a relationship – by losing it.

“My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees” (Psalm 119:71). NLT

God uses problems to “protect” us. A problem can be a blessing in disguise if it prevents us from being harmed by something more serious. Once a man was fired for refusing to do something unethical that his boss had asked him to do! His unemployment was a problem – but it saved him from being convicted and sent to prison a year later when management’s actions were eventually discovered.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good…” (Genesis 50:20). NIV

God uses problems to “perfect” us. Problems, when responded to correctly, are character builders. God is far more interested in our character than our comfort. Our relationship to God and our character are the only two things we are going to take with us into eternity.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” (Romans 5:3-4). NLT

2 Corinthians 4:8-10: “We have troubles all around us, but we are not defeated. We do not know what to do, but we do not give up. We are persecuted, but God does not leave us. We are hurt sometimes, but we are not destroyed. We carry the death of Jesus in our own bodies, so that the life of Jesus can also be seen in our bodies.”

Romans 8:28 – “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

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