This is one of those questions which plague many of our brothers and sisters in their everyday Christian life. There are those that actually believe that if you suffer hardship then there must be something wrong in your Christian walk. That in some way you have un-confessed sin and that the only way to turn things around is to go to God with your sin and beg forgiveness.
However I am here to set the record straight. It is not the sin in our lives which causes us to have hardship. This is the thought of Jobs friends, and indeed they were not really friends at all to the man that lost everything even though he did not sin. Sometimes it seems that we suffer needlessly, but I say that God works all things for good to those that love him. From my own personal experience, I can say that I had a very difficult childhood. I never knew my real father and I was abused by a few stepfathers.
I was beaten with broomsticks, thrown across rooms and even beaten with one of those long survival knives by a whacked out Vietnam Vet live in boyfriend of my mother. I truly believe that God was especially watching over me in that instance, because the only reason he quit spanking me with the knife is because he had cut my wrist and the blade slipped and he sliced his own leg from the ankle to the knee.
To tell the truth I do not hold that against him anymore because he was seriously not right in the head and that indeed was his tragedy. I had to bear the ordeal of knowing that my brothers and sisters were sexually abused by friends of the family, as well, as stepfathers and their friends. I grew up in a world of poverty where we were on welfare for most of my life and when we did not receive that, we had to go camping overnight and fish so that we would have something to eat the next day.
I started working when I was twelve years old as a painter’s helper. I did not like the idea of my mother and stepfather having to pay for me and I felt very much like a burden. I was the oldest out of seven children and on top of all of those other burdens I was the live in babysitter, cook, and housekeeper. I am not sharing all of these experiences in my life so that you can feel sorry for me or wonder at how I made it through all of these things, because even though in my mind I endured so much, it is clear to me that there are people that have it much worse than all of that.
This is to prove the point that God works all things for good to those that love him. I have come to believe that this life is like a training ground and that how you decide to deal with all that it has to throw at you is the way that you grow and become strong. You have heard the saying, “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?” It is all too true and I believe that if it were not for all of my experiences in life, good or bad, I would not be the man I am today. I know it may sound a little silly, but I count these experiences as blessings.
You see, I believe that all of these things were placed upon me to help me grow, to become strong and to be able to stand when the time is right. The things my experience has taught me is to trust in no man and to not even trust in myself, because there is no one which can do anything for me but God himself and that is who I lay all of my hopes on. God will redeem me, God will save me, and God will make everything right and just in the end.
I find that the experiences in my life have led me to be patient, compassionate, understanding, forgiving, merciful and loving. I never really thought much of myself because I have made my share of mistakes, but I never intentionally tried to hurt anybody and for the most part it was generally me that suffered for my actions, thank God.
Even with all of this said, I am by no means a perfect man and I still even to this day continue to grow, but I know that by the grace and mercy of God I will be alright. This is why we endure so much suffering; it is to strengthen us and to help us to grow. We are much like the chick hatching from an egg. Did you know that if you help that chick hatch and break away the shell, the chick will die? It is true and much like that we can not be helped through all of our hardships. God understands that it is adversity and strife which makes us strong and that is why he allows such things.
There will come a time when we no longer suffer and he will wipe every tear from our eyes. We will be Heaven and the things of this life will be forgotten. It is patience and strength that we need now to get us through this world. If you suffer hardship and that experience makes you stronger, wiser, and more loving, then count that as a blessing from God like you would any other good gift.