I was watching Joyce Meyer this morning, and she spoke about going through trials, pain and suffering and how these things equip us for the future. They equip us with experience that we can then use to help other people. She said we usually don’t realize this until we are older and can look back on our lives.
Joyce used the example of Joseph’s life, which if you read it in Genesis Chapters 37-50, will explain why “But Joseph replied, “Do not be afraid. Am I in the place of God? As for you, what you intended against me for evil, God intended for good, in order to accomplish a day like this—to preserve the lives of many people.”
Just the other day, my sister said to me, “When you used to come to Nevada to visit me, it surprised me how my bad temper didn’t upset you. When I raged about something, most people didn’t like it and would get upset, but you would just sit there working on your crossword puzzle.”
I said to her, “I realized a few years ago, that the years of having my husband lose his temper had taught me not to take anger personally. I read a book that explained bad-tempered people are not actually mad at you; they are angry about something else, usually their childhood.”
Living with my husband and praying about my own temper, has been good for me. I didn’t think so at the time, in fact, I hated it, but God used that so I could learn to let people go and not be upset about what they say and do. I haven’t learned this perfectly, but most of the time when someone is mad at me or at something else, I feel at peace about it.
My husband rarely loses his temper now. We have both learned how useless it is to be angry at people. When he does slip and flip-out, we pause and then start laughing. This is what can happen when you follow Jesus through your life. We are both in our late sixties and both of us have learned through suffering and praying. It is God alone who changes us as we ask him.
My sister and I are very close, even though we live miles apart. Through email, Messenger and phone calls, we share our happiness, sorrows and how God is working in our lives. She has helped me so much in so many ways. She says I have helped her. This deep, Christian friendship is what I have needed. I can tell her anything and know I will be understood; she can do the same with me. I pray all you who read this will have a friend like that.
The other thing I have learned through suffering is compassion. I believe if a person goes through life with everything going their way, they will probably be proud and selfish. How can we understand the suffering of others if we never go through it ourselves?
I read a millionaire say, “Anyone can do what I have done and be rich.” I suppose he says that because he has never had a family member who is not as smart as him. He doesn’t realize that intelligence makes a huge difference in how successful we will be in this world. His parents probably sent him to a wonderful university where he learned what he needed to learn.
There are those who suffer mental illness. People like me, who have no confidence and are terrified to work with other people. People like me who freeze and are speechless and so afraid to make a mistake on a job they can’t function. People like me, who were horribly abused as a child.
I can now say to God, “Thank you for all my suffering.” I never thought I would ever, ever say that, but I can see the beauty that can come from it. I would rather be who I am, with all my weakness, than proud in my own strength. I can say with David, “The Lord is my strength,” because I know how true that is.