Bringing Us Ever Closer
Abby writes for us today on how we can be joyful even in the worst of times - and how we can rejoice not just despite sufferings but in them! Abby's testimony continues to be our all-time most popular post, so it makes us very happy to have her back writing for the blog and more importantly to see how much Jesus is working in her life!
"The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." (Psalm 34:18)
The times of greatest suffering in a believer’s life tend to also be the times we feel furthest from God. Neglected, ignored, shunned, punished…we come up with all these horrible reasons for the affliction we are under, exacerbating our hurt and blaming God for our misfortune. Yet, it is us who have ignored and shunned our Father. Only in suffering do we cry out to Him to come into our lives. As David pleads over and over through the book of psalms:
“Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me.” (Psalm 22:19)
And the best part of all? He does. He absolutely adores to reveal Himself in our lives (He was always there) and hold us up till we are safely out the other side. Our heavenly Father turns my darkness into light no matter what we’re going through. Corrie ten Boom endured unimaginable pain in her life and still found the faith to say:
“No matter how deep our darkness, He is deeper still.”
So rejoice! Rejoice that in our sufferings, God is right there with us and His unfailing love shields us as we endure the darkness. We cling to Him through the trials and we praise Him when we are delivered from them. Just like a family is made stronger through the pains of childbirth, our relationship with God is made stronger through our pains. We have learnt that it is the result of our sufferings that proves God’s presence, rather than our sufferings proving his absence.
But more so than this, our sufferings themselves prove his presence! He draws close to us when we are at our weakest.
The love of my life, Spurgeon, oh-so-eloquently phrased: “is it not sweet to think that our tears are understood even when words fail! Let us learn to think of tears as liquid prayers.” The point I’m trying to make is that God is always there. He rescues us from our sufferings but he also stays by our side while we’re suffering and comforts us in wondrous relationship with Him.
John Bunyan said: “were it lawful, I could pray for greater trouble for the greater comfort’s sake.”
The beauty of this concept is astounding. I’m sure you’ve all heard the Hillsong track Oceans by now – “my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Saviour”... I would like to propose that we all truly take this away with us.
Our loving Father is our shield, our comfort, our light and He draws close to us when we need Him most. So why don’t we thank Him for that the next time we feel ‘neglected’? Let us remind ourselves that the times we feel most alone are the times we have the closest comfort imaginable.
Abby is from Cambridge and currently studies Psychology at Bath University. Having grown up in a Christian family, she became a Christian last summer and has loved growing more in her faith at uni. Abby most definitely caught the travelling bug in her gap year and would ideally like to travel forever and ever...but for now moving to Sheffield next year will suffice!