Since our all-knowing and sovereign God decided to usher me into deep darkness which is accompanied by much pain and suffering, I thought it would be a good idea to provide an excerpt from Dr. Donald W. Ekstrand that deals with the Hows and Whys of dark times in our lives.
God never lets us suffer because He likes to do that. However, in His great love He alone sees what kind of circumstances, afflictions or trials will be helpful for us to finally give up on ourselves and to only trust in Him. Despite serious pains in my heart and soul for some time now, I sense that a new form of faith which is no longer grounded on something that I could find in myself – since there is nothing that could ever make me jump for joy again – has begun to come to light right out of the darkness. I do not understand how it works, yet I have realized that faith, indeed, exclusively comes from God. We could never achieve true faith on our own.
So, before you could read the excerpt as already announced, some information about the author. Dr. Don Ekstrand is an adjunct professor of Christian Studies at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix and of Religious Studies in the Maricopa Community College District in Arizona. He has also served in positions of pastor, teacher, and executive administration for nearly 40 years.
Someone once said there will be no revival, either personally or otherwise, until there is first a Gethsemane and a Calvary in each of our own lives.
Life Includes Suffering – I purposely ignored studying the sufferings of Job for years because it scared me. Eventually, in God’s timing, the story of Job became incredibly real to me as I began to experience deep suffering in my own life. I learned I had a choice: to either let the suffering accomplish the goal and purpose that God wanted in my life; or, let the suffering crush and destroy me. God put the book of Job right in the center of the Bible for a very good reason: it’s an example of faith in the night seasons. God intends for all of us to use it as a “road map” on our journey through the dark night, always keeping in mind that at the end of the road, Job finally “saw” God as he never had seen Him before, and it changed his life forever.
Suffering has as its goal the sanctification, the purification, of our souls and spirits. Suffering comes about as God unrelentingly identifies the most potentially damaging hindrance to our relationship with Him, and then lovingly begins to strip that thing away from us. He crushes us, He breaks us, He shakes us and removes anything that is in the way of His accomplishing His will in and through our lives. Some important points to remember when we are going through suffering are:
• God allows our troubles to drive us to our knees and to bring us back to Himself. (Ex 2:23-25)
• God allows trials in our lives so we may turn around and minister to others in similar circumstances. (2 Cor 1:3-4)
• Sometimes our troubles must get worse before freedom comes. Satan, obviously, does not want that – therefore, he does everything he possibly can to stop it.
• It’s important to realize that we can’t get ourselves out of trouble. If God has allowed the trial, then He is the only One who can get us out of it. Therefore, it is not our battle, but His. (Ex 6:6-8)
• Our troubles should always push us towards God, not away from Him. If they push us away from Him, we should check to be sure who is the instigator of the trial. (Ps 77:2; 2 Chron 33:12)
• Once we understand that God is involved in our trials, it should give us great hope. (Eph 1:17-20)
• God wants to use our trials as a way for us to learn His statutes and His laws. (Ps 119:71)
God always has a reason for the things He allows into our lives. He is preparing us for a future which He alone knows.