Suffering is flooding the earth like a rising tide. This isn’t merely something we behold on the news. In the past six months nearly everyone dear to me has passed through a dark valley of suffering; so has our family. I’ll bet if you think of ten people you know, six are in the midst of some painful ordeal even now. Suffering will try to separate you from Jesus. You must not let it.

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The worst part of suffering is the damage it can do to your view of God, your relationship with him. Feelings of abandonment creep in: Why did he let this happen? Anger. A loss of hope. Mistrust. Forsakenness. At the very time you need him most, you will feel most compelled to pull away from Jesus, or feel that he has pulled away from you.

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Be very, very careful and pay attention to how you interpret your suffering. Don’t jump to conclusions. Interpretation is critical. Beware the agreements that you make. This is where the enemy can destroy you. Agreements such as God has abandoned me; it’s my fault; I’ve done something wrong, and a host of others. If you’ve been making these agreements, you will want to break them. They allow a chasm to form between you and your Jesus.

By all means, seek a breakthrough. Too many Christians simply fold under hardship and give way to the feelings of abandonment. Pray against it; pray hard. If it is an attack from the enemy, much of that can be shut down through prayer. Much healing is available, too, through the life of Jesus in us. Do not simply surrender. But when breakthrough does not seem to come, when the pain lingers on, remember this:

Just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. (2 Corinthians 1:5)

(Beautiful Outlaw, 241, 242, 243)

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