I cry aloud from the crumpled corner of my couch, “I feel like God is killing me.”
Turning toward the silence in the opposite corner, my eyes plead for a response from my husband. Taking a deep breath, he exhales to share a compassionate observation, “Beth, God is not killing you. He is healing you.”
Deep down I know he is right, but like me, does God’s love sometimes feel hidden in your hardship? I am learning, when God’s love looks different than I expect, I can trust He is working all things for my good (Romans 8:28).
Milton Vincent put it this way, “The good news about my trials is that God is forcing them to bow to his gospel purposes and do good unto me by improving my character and making me more conformed to the image of Christ.”
And Warren Wiersbe said, “A crisis doesn’t ‘make a person’; a crisis reveals what a person is made of.” God has often used a crisis to expose sin and sorrow buried deep within me. My heart needs a surgeon and sometimes the tool God uses to bring healing is divinely timed hardship.
Nevertheless, when we hurt, we tend to ruminate over “why me?”
Yet, instead of asking God why are you allowing this to happen to me, maybe we need to ask God what are you trying to accomplish in me?
For example, God’s love may look like discipline accomplishing the purpose of uprooting sin, so we become more like His Son. God disciplines those He loves (Hebrews 12:6).
Certainly, we are marred by the sin within us, but we are also marred by the sin around us. Thus, love may look like peeling back layers of trauma, inducing difficult emotions geared toward healing deep emotional wounds.
When things are going well, we often slap a temporary band-aid on top of our grievous wounds and go about our day. Over time, the wound will fester, begging for attention. Healing may feel unbearable, but God will heal our broken hearts and bind up our wounds (Psalm 147:3). He will also remain close (Psalm 34:18).
Furthermore, love may look like letting us hit rock bottom to be scooped up by grace. In this way, we learn to let go of our idols, which are utterly inadequate to save. No matter how long we have followed Christ, may we never forget God loves us so much He sent His only Son to die for our sin (John 3:16). So, “let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us that he may heal us (Hosea 6:1).”
Remember friend, no matter what hardship you face today, God's love comes to find you in your hard in order to heal. When we stop and pull back our curtains of agony, we will see the love of Christ is closer than ever, shining light into the darkened window of our soul. So, draw back the curtains and draw close to God. He promises to come near (James 4:8).
Lastly, if in our pain we pause to listen, we will hear love whispering, “you were not made for this world.” Love helps us let go of what is, so we long for what will be. And ultimately, when we depend on Christ during hardship, healing is found and holiness formed. So, like Job, may we say, “when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold (Job 23:10).”
Where have you seen God’s love at work for your good and for His glory during hardship?
As Christians, we still need to preach the gospel to ourselves daily, especially during times of hardship. I recommend the book below to help you remember how the gospel still carries you through each day.