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Seeds of the Kingdom

Finding Truth in Suffering

by Annalene Holtzhausen

But those who suffer He delivers in their suffering; He speaks to them in their affliction. He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food.
Job 36:15-16, NIV

Firstly, an apology. Yesterday`s writer (Stepping stones to an Anxiety Free Life) was Margaret Silvester, not Annalene Holtzhausen. Annalene has written today`s devotional.

So much of our time spent during times of sorrow and suffering is focussed on questions like: “Why did this have to happen? Why me? Can this just please go away, Lord? Why did You allow this to happen, Lord? Where are You in this?” When our lives feel as if they’re being turned upside-down we very easily go into a state of anxiety and fear. We frantically search for answers and solutions to fix the problem, so that our lives can go back to ‘normal’.

I recently read a devotion by Oswald Chambers where he reminds us that suffering and sorrow are a fact of life. There’s no use in saying it shouldn’t be this way. It’s not for us to say that God made a mistake by allowing these times. Our Lord Jesus accepted His position, and realised His purpose in the midst of the fires of sorrow. Suffering can either help me grow, or it can destroy me. It’s about the choices I make during hard times.

So my attitude towards sorrow and difficulty shouldn’t be to ask for these things to be prevented, but to ask the Lord to protect me during suffering, so that I remain who He created me to be. I find the hardest part is to choose to trust the Lord during the time of suffering, and also to have a steadfast faith that He’s in absolute control of my situation, knows the way forward and will never forsake me. But if I allow anxiety to take over, my thoughts aren’t fixed on the Lord.

Another problem is becoming entangled in thoughts about what I should be DOING to fix the problem and what I should be LEARNING in the suffering. The danger in this is getting caught up in myself. In today’s verse we read that the Lord speaks to us in our suffering. He longs to woo us into a spacious place, free from restriction. Isn’t this exactly what we all long for?

But when our focus is on ourselves, and we’re caught up in questions, we won’t see the Lord in our suffering, and we won’t hear His voice wooing us. He wants to be the One guiding us in our decisions, and guiding us towards His freedom in our lives.

And when we get obsessed with the people involved in our suffering, and the judgment we wish upon them, we won’t grow into the likeness of our Lord. We’ll easily be destroyed by the suffering. Job is warned of this by Elihu: ‘But you are obsessed with whether the godless will be judged. Don’t worry, judgment and justice will be upheld’ (‭Job‬ ‭36‬:‭17‬, NLT).

Hard times will come, and suffering is a fact of life. Our Lord Jesus understands this better than we realise, and He knows what we go through when trials come. Let’s choose to walk through the trials and suffering with Him. He’s with us every step of the way and He’s wooing us from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restrictions.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, what a comfort it is to know that You not only see me in my times of distress, but that You’re with me the whole time. Thank You that You know the way forward, and thank You for Your guidance. Please help me to wait on You in every step I take. Help me to hear Your voice, and help me remain who You created me to be. Amen.

Annalene Holtzhausen is on the Associate Team at Ellel, Africa. She is married to Renier, who introduced her to Ellel Ministries. She is a full-time mother to their two boys. Her passion is for the restoration of women’s hearts and for people to find their worth in the Lord.


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