“How do you prepare for suffering?”
When I was first asked that question years ago, I was startled. I had no idea how to answer. How does anyone prepare for the unthinkable?
Personally, I have felt unprepared every time suffering has shown up on my doorstep. Even when I think it’s coming. Even when I know what to expect. Even when I’m sure it’s inevitable. Somehow it feels theoretical until it actually arrives. Or maybe I just keep hoping it will not be delivered. But when it’s finally here, it can take my breath away with its intensity.
Even as I write, I’m dealing with escalating struggles with post polio syndrome, struggles I was warned about over a decade ago. And yet I’m still surprised at how hard it is to deal with the losses.
As I struggle, I stay in the Word daily. I declare that God is trustworthy. I remember that He is in control. I remind myself of truths that sustain me every day. Truths that come straight from the Bible. Like those I have learned from Job, who has been my faithful mentor in suffering.
In one fateful day, Job lost everything. His children, his servants, his home and his livestock. And then he was afflicted with sores all over his body. No one could never have foreseen that type of loss. There was no way to prepare. Yet before disaster came near his tent, Job did things that helped him withstand his trials. And I have found those same things have helped me face my own suffering.
Most importantly, Job knew God. Before calamity came, Job feared God and talked to Him. Continually. He prayed constantly for his children. He lived his life looking to God in all circumstances.
Like Job, my relationship with God was forged years before my heartbreaking losses. I grew to know God deeply through reading the Bible and praying. Even when the Bible felt dry and boring. Even when God felt distant. And even when devotions felt like pure duty.
Over time, simply reading the Bible and asking God for wisdom taught me to hear His voice, understand His heart and know His ways. And bringing my requests to Him, telling Him my fears, and listening for His still small voice brought genuine depth to my relationship. View full post »