“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
*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.