By Amy Ingram
It’s no secret to those closest to me that the past few months have been challenging— a time of sifting, sorting and evaluation of many things surrounding me. While I wish life were easier to deal with right now, I am confident of a few things:
God is not surprised or shocked by my circumstances and is for me.
- “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? …This I know, that God is for me” (Psalm 56: 8-9).
- “The righteous cry, and the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles” (Psalm 34:17).
God is not absent or distant during this time.
- “I will never desert you, nor will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5c).
- “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8).
- “…for the LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard” (Isaiah 52:12b).
God loves me with an ever-present, all-consuming love and nothing can take that away.
- “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
God tells us that suffering produces endurance; endurance produces character; and character, hope.
- “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).
God tells us we must face trials in order to learn steadfastness.
- “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2).
God sent his son Jesus to show us that suffering will happen and gave us a model as to how we should suffer, without sin, for His glory.
- “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21).
I’ve found during times like this that the only way to endure the pain, the discomfort, the hurt, is to continually preach the gospel to myself. To wake up in the morning, breathe, and consciously make the decision to remember who I am in Christ.
So who are we in Christ? What is the sermon that we must preach to ourselves?
- We are his children. (John 1:12)
- We have been justified and redeemed. (Romans 3:24)
- If we believe He died for us, we have been crucified with him and are no longer slaves to sin. (Romans 6:6)
- We are new creatures in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
- We are God’s workmanship created to produce good works. (Ephesians 2:10)
- We can put on the full armor of God to help us fight and overcome any forces of this world. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
- WE ARE LOVED. WE ARE PURCHASED. WE HAVE BEEN FOUGHT FOR—AND THE BATTLE HAS BEEN WON!
Dear friends, suffering will come. It will test us. It will battle against us. But we must wage war. We must not forget who we are in Christ, and most importantly who God has told us he is. If you are struggling right now, crawl up into the arms of Jesus and ask him to hold you. He’s not surprised by your hurts, he holds your tears in a bottle, weeps with you, and ultimately walks with you.
You are loved, beloved. Don’t ever forget it.
Amy Ingram is a Senior Account Executive at a branding and marketing firm in Birmingham, AL, where she lives with her dog, Mabel. Feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.