How To Avoid Failure When You’re Faced With Suffering

“If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

Psalm 11:3

Suffering Will Come

Suffering will open the door of our lives uninvited and undesired no matter where we are in the world.

As I reflect on the events and circumstances of the past year, it seemed like from every direction there were arrows being shot straight at my heart, shaking the world around me. Sickness, disappointments by people around me, unrealistic expectations, and a sense of loss had made its way deep into my life. It felt as if it all were crippling me and stealing the joy straight out of my life. They say that too many trials for too many years without relief can bring a person to despair and feeling that the rug beneath them has been taken away…it seems like the “foundation is destroyed.”

Suffering Doesn’t Come Alone

In the midst of all the struggles and what seemed like unending trials, there was one thing that stood up and required my attention. That one thing that came along with the suffering and trials that came into my life uninvitedly, was CHOICE.

We have a choice on how we will deal with the circumstances and all the emotions that suffering brings. At the same time we must realize that we aren’t just dealing with our health, or relationships with others, or injustices, or our personal reputation or position, but we are dealing with our own heart.

Anytime we encounter suffering, it always attacks our hearts. Temptations that normally wouldn’t phase us have a greater power due to the circumstances that we find ourselves in. And not just temptation, but faith. Our faith faces a frontal attack like never before. When the suffering is great, we tend to have thoughts that we have never had, and sometimes we even question things that were solid pillars of our faith before.

“Keep your heart with all diligence, for from it flows the springs of life.”

Proverbs 4:23

Protection is Required

We must choose to protect our hearts! When our world feels as if it is falling apart, we must stand on our firm foundation.

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed, perplexed, but not driven to despair, persecuted, but not forsaken, struck down, but not destroyed, always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.”

2 Corinthians 4:8-10

When suffering uninvitedly opens the door to our lives, the stability that we need when we face hard times is the foundation of Jesus Christ. He is the only trustworthy foundation, and He alone can give us the stability that our hearts and lives need on this journey of life. Christ alone can properly guide us through all our relationships, decisions, and priorities in this world.

If you live long enough, you will realize that some people will abandon you, some will break your heart, while everyone in your life will at one point in time disappoint you. We are human, and we are flawed. But we should never allow other people’s failures to become the basis for abandoning the One friend that never fails.

Recently as I was reflecting on one of Chris’s sermon out of the book of Nehemiah, coupled with reading through my journal from 2018 and reflection on some recent events, I began to focus on this thought, “we need to be present in the moment – with all that is good in us. We never know what kind of impact our presence will have for the kingdom of God.”

Joy and Gladness

King David has been my companion this past year as I traveled this journey of trails and suffering. He has shown me how one deals with trials as they live a life that is honoring to God. David wasn’t always a king. He also faced struggles as a soldier and even as a lonely shepherd. Fear and depression often knocked at David’s door, but it never settled in his heart because his trust was always in the solid foundation of God.

“You have put gladness in my heart MORE than their grain and new wine abound.”

David in Psalm 4:7

While others based their joy and gladness on the circumstances of life, David’s had a heavenly origin. The joy and gladness in David’s heart came from God, and it was MORE than anything this world could offer.

If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? Remember that when our foundation is God, it can’t be destroyed. But when we face difficulties and trails, because they will come knocking on our door, we must remember the answer to the question. The answer is seemingly simple, and yet so profoundly deep – TRUST IN GOD.

“Offer sacrifices in the right spirit, and trust the Lord.”

Psalm 4:5

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*I recently finished reading a really good book on the topic of suffering and it has been instrumental in helping me conceptually configure my thoughts regarding the topic for this article. If you are looking for a good book on the subject, check it out here.

4 Comments

  1. Christina on February 1, 2019 at 7:44 am

    Thank you for the excellent exhortation. It’s timely for me. The past year has been full of trial and suffering for me as well.

    • Mihaela Guess on February 1, 2019 at 8:45 pm

      It is such an amazing thing that once we begin to share what we have been going through, and what we have been learning from our Father in heaven, that we realize that we are not in this alone. I am sorry to hear that you too had a hard year. Chris is always saying that we have the hard times because God wants to make us stronger and more like Christ. 1 Peter 5:8-11 is such an encouraging passage for me: “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness, God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. All power to him forever! Amen.”

  2. Jenine on February 3, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    Mihi, you are a wonderful writer! I’m so sorry to hear of your suffering. God uses every part of you for his purpose. You are an encouragement to so many of us. 💕❤️💕

    • Mihaela Guess on February 4, 2019 at 2:26 am

      Thank you Jenine. All the power and strength to face each day that brings us trails and suffering comes from God. He gives in abundance, and He loves us more than we can understand. Coming to understand that we are just fragile clay jars is a step in the process. Something we have to remind ourselves of constantly.

      2 Corinthians 4:7-11 “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies.”

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