God is never obligated to give us health and wealth, but the story of Joseph is an example of a man who was rewarded for his righteousness and kept his integrity intact. From him we can learn how to respond to those who prosper and those who suffer.
In the process of living and dying in a sin-cursed world we experience distress, agony, and misery due to pain, disease, loss, and damage. We call it suffering. Everyone experiences it sooner or later. It is part of the human condition. Some of it we bring on ourselves. Some of us suffer through no fault of our own.
Besides being difficult physically, emotionally, and spiritually, the fact that suffering often appears to have no rhyme or reason, and appears meaningless adds a measure of psychological suffering. Suffering is easier to endure if we can attach some meaning or purpose to it.
While we can't often control the sources of our suffering, we can control our response to it. God gives us direction as to how to respond so as to make it meaningful. We hope these resources help you turn suffering into a situation to praise God for His strength amid your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9b).
Every Christian has experienced times when trials seem overwhelming. We naturally wonder: Where is God? Is God letting us down? Does He care? If God is good, then why is He allowing evil to triumph?
Because of our sin nature our default mode is self-sufficiency and independence from God. Rather than allowing His power—the power of Christ’s Holy Spirit who lives in every believer—to replace our weakness, we naturally try to handle things on our own.
For many of us, our busy schedules filled with appointments and obligations keep us occupied to the brink of breakdown. We don’t have time for self-reflection or to take note of triggers and internal alarm bells telling us we’re not OK.
Ever wish you could reach out to a friend in crisis, but you’re just not sure what to say? Most of us tend either to avoid the person or situation altogether or to rush in and say too much.
Joy prompts healing—both physically and emotionally. In this poignant letter of friendship and faith, the Apostle Paul advocated for a lasting joy to undergird the life of all believers.
How would you communicate the message of James 5:13–16 to people enduring chronic pain or illness? How would you address their deep questions about God’s character? How would you emphasize the importance of prayer and confession in the midst of suffering?
If I’ve described your situation, I have great news. I’m so glad that I memorized it years ago and call it to mind often. Here it is: We are all faced with a series of great opportunities, brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.
Like potatoes in a pressure cooker, we 21st-century creatures understand the meaning of stress. A week doesn’t pass without a few skirmishes with those “extrinsic agents” that beat upon our fragile frames.