EMAIL ADVICE: How can I learn to accept the hard things I experience in life?
This is an "Email Advice" post...
I often receive emails that ask for my advice. When it feels that the things the Lord gives me to say in response to these requests could be helpful for others, I post the question (anonymously) and my responses here. May God use them for His glory and the equipping of His people.
I’ve been through many painful and difficult situations in my life and at times I struggle to understand how to view them. I mean, I believe that God loves me but many times the things that happen to me don’t seem like things a loving Father would allow to happen to His child.
I try to find lessons He has for me to learn. I try to find the ways I can grow from the experience and many times I do find those benefits even in the hardest things. But under the surface I’m still struggling to feel good about God when such hard things are happening to me.
Is it OK for me to question God about these things? Not in an accusatory way but as His child, asking Him to help me understand? Beyond that, what things have you found helpful as you think about such things in your life?
As you mention, there are definitely lessons to be learned in our walk with the Lord. His providential oversight of our lives brings plenty of opportunity to grow in understanding, perspective, and behavior.
Yes, it is OK to ask God for explanations, to ask Him to help you understand His ways. But where we get in trouble is when we start demanding instead of asking, insisting that the Almighty explain Himself to us like a prosecuting attorney would question a witness in court.
I have found a foundational truth that helps me navigate life with the proper sense of my position in all of it is this…
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom/knowledge.” (Proverbs 9:10 / Proverbs 1:7)
What this means is that we must keep clear on our place in relationship to God. He is the Creator, we are His creation. That’s an essential fact of our existence, and a blessed one. There are many things that spin out of this in terms of our practical daily living. A handful that have helped me immensely are…
As Creator, God has the right to do/allow whatever He deems best.
That could be something I deem “harmful, bad, difficult, unfair, etc.” but I must remember that all of those descriptions are from MY perspective as a created being. I cannot see the whole story, the purposes behind those things, the ways God is using them for His glory and my good as His son (Romans 8:28).
There is never a situation where it is appropriate for me to criticize what He has done/allowed in my life.
Because of that first point, I’m incapable of making an accurate judgement about what God is doing in my life. This is the humility beneath faith in God. We trust Him exactly BECAUSE we don’t understand and can’t comprehend how or why all things/circumstances are woven together as they are. That type of faith/trust is like an anchor that holds us steady in the storms of life. We are moored to the unmoveable Rock (our God).
Humility is my proper place and is good for me, in all situations.
I am a creation of God, not on par with Him in any way. It’s proper, right, fitting for me to be submissive to Him in my attitude, no matter the pain I may experience or disallusionment I may struggle through. Faith that is rooted in His majesty over me is faith that will endure, grow, and thrive.
I don’t know how these will land on you or if you might have more questions, but these are some of the things that have helped me settle a lot of questions in my mind pertaining to the hardships and struggles we experience in this world. When God is supreme in my thoughts, I’m able to gratefully bow before Him in worship and true delight. The wonder of who He is and the awe I feel when I consider that He’s included me in Him and in His plans through the sacrificial gift of His Son keeps be grounded and growing.