Blessings of Tribulation

I was only 10 years old and kept asking myself, “how could God let this happen?”  Yet our culture often asks the same question and tends to analyze why bad things happen to good people.  Why do people have to suffer from cancer, or forms of abuse, or deprivation?  So why is it that God lets bad things happen to good people or even innocent children?

Between the ages of 4-6 years old, I was sexually abused by a member of my family.  I was threatened that if I ever told, my parents would be killed.  I was also raised in an abusive home with a drug dealer for a Dad who would beat and rape my Mom in front of me.  At 10 years old, I witnessed my Dad beating and strangling my Mom and almost killing her before I pulled her to the car to drive away.  Then I watched days later as my Dad was shot as he attempted to kill my Mom and grandparents with a machete.  I thought at such a young age that if there was a God, he didn’t care very much for children or at least rescuing them from the kind of life I had.

Dave Pelzer describes in his book, “A Child Called It”, how his mother brutally beat and starved him as a child in one of the most severe child abuse cases in California history.  He was left without food for days and treated like a slave in instances where he nearly died.  Where was God to save him?

Paul teaches us in Romans 8:31-39 that God is for us and how He gave his only son to suffer and die for our sins.  No power can separate us from the love of God.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

God IS good!!  Out of every bad situation, something great comes out of it.  Even with my suffering as a child, I grew to a stronger adult and can recognize signs of abuse and help others with their own suffering.  I realized years later after my Dad died that circumstances were put into motion for me to follow certain paths that God had created for me to get me where I am today, none of which would’ve made me who I am today without the suffering I experienced.  God gives us trials so we can look to Him for strength and salvation.  Dave Pelzer has received many awards and commendations for dedicating his life to helping others.  He has written a national bestselling book that has helped millions of people suffering from abuse.  Something amazing came from something so tragic.  God works in mysterious ways and we have to put our faith and patience in Him to show us the way.  Of course, I am not saying that abuse or pain is a good thing to experience and we should not go out looking to be tortured to become stronger people…I am simply urging you to hand the control over to God and trust in Him that there is a reason for every instance in our lives.

Job can attest to God’s purpose and grace with the pain and suffering he endured in his life and he grew in strength and in his faith with God, even after he had lost everything.  Joseph is another example of a man who kept his faith through trials and tribulations.  He was thrown into a well by his brothers who hated him and sold into slavery and then held in a prison for several years.  God had a plan for Joseph though and he trusted God and listened to His direction to become Pharaoh’s right-hand-man, becoming the 2nd most powerful man on earth.  Look at Jesus Christ and the horrible torture he endured to save us from our sins and now sits at the right hand of God.

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:6-9

My Mom broke her back in July of 2016 and found out two weeks later that she had her second round of cancer growing in her lungs and pneumonia on top of that.  After being in the hospital off and on for six weeks and losing her strength and unable to fight the cancer, she decided to stop fighting.  Every day I would pray for her strength and for my own strength to make it through this sudden turn of events.  She was only 68 years old and she was my rock.  I wasn’t ready to let her go but I realized that it wasn’t in my control.  God had a different plan for her and a different plan for me.  It’s hard to accept that when you know you are spending the last few seconds with the person you have loved the most.  I was in the middle of the biggest storm of my life but I had to keep my faith and make sure my Mom had everything she needed in her last days.  In the end, the tribulation for me was a blessing for her because she was ready to go home and be done with the pain.  It’s hard to handle the loss of someone you love but it’s easier to know that God has his hands on the controls.

So the next time you feel that you are in the middle of the storm and you look up to God for answers and hear no response and see no relief, know that He is working behind the scenes for you.  It may not be a quick response or a fast relief for the pain but trust in Him that you will become stronger from this situation and will come out on the other side knowing more and having a better understanding of His grace and mercy.  I know it hurts right now.  I know you may feel lost and broken and even alone.  God is with us at all times and will show us the way.  “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” Philippians 4:13.

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