“We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9, NLT, 2nd edition)
Did Jesus suffer? Was Jesus sometimes lonely? Was he tempted to be discouraged? Was he misunderstood, maligned, and criticized unjustly?
Of course! None of us are exempt from suffering, loneliness, discouragement, or unjust criticism, because God is developing within us the character of Christ, and, in order to do this, he must take us through all of the circumstances in life through which he took Christ.
Does this mean God causes tragedies? No. God is good, and he will not cause evil or do evil. But God can use dark and stressful times for good. He'll use them to teach us to trust him (2 Corinthians 1:8-9), to show us how to help others (2 Corinthians 1:4-6), and to draw us closer to other believers (2 Corinthians 1:11).
So, what should you do when you’re going through difficult times?
- Refuse to be discouraged.
- Remember God is with you.
- Rely on God’s protection and guidance.