"The Promise of God in the Midst of Affliction"
God never promised us that we would be exempt from affliction; rather, suffering is part of our experience as we live in a fallen, broken world. However, there is hope because, though he does not always deliver us from suffering, he promises to deliver and transform us through it if we rely upon his strength rather than our own. In times of great suffering, we can know for certain that we aren't alone. In the midst of our pain, God promises to never leave, forsake nor abandon us.
Therefore, when we grieve, we do not grieve like the world does; we grieve with hope, knowing that God is often revealed most clearly in the midst of our trials. God will never despise us or hide his face from us. When we cry out for help, he will hear and enable us to endure. The certainty of his companionship in the midst of our afflictions allows us to view them as the means to experience even greater glory.
Our suffering is accomplishing something in us, forging within us the character of the One in whose image we are made. Because of Christ, even our catastrophes have purpose! God is preparing our character in this "boot camp of life" for the day when we will behold him face to face.
What a glorious day that will be! Does not your heart leap within you to think of it? To experience perfect contentment bathed in the beautiful presence of the One who has loved you, called you, and pursued you through every day of your earthly life. That moment is your destiny if you have put your faith in Christ and Christ alone!
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.
Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried and were rescued;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame. (Psalm 22:1-5 ESV)