God’s Unexpected Answers & His Purpose In Our Suffering

          لا تكثر من الشكوى فيأتيك الهم،
لكن أكثر من الحمد لله تأتيك السعادةPhoto Credit: Pinterest

    Hey friends! I haven’t written a blog post in a few weeks. I think it is because I’ve been waiting to write about something specific that has been on my mind and heart and I knew it needed a little more time. I’ve been wanting to share a personal experience but one that I’m sure some of you could relate to on so many different levels. I hope this post encourages you to trust deeply in the One who is greater and sovereign over all despite the things in your life that may be fading away and causing you affliction. I pray that you would rest on the truth that there is purpose for your suffering. Truly, God has a purpose for everything.

   Have you ever pondered on why God does certain things in your life that may not be what you envisioned or hoped for? If you’re human, I’m sure in some way or another you’ve thought about it. Have you ever circled in prayer for something specific that didn’t come to fruition? Have you asked yourself why? Or, questioned God? I confess that I’ve gone through very difficult seasons when I’ve asked myself why God didn’t answer my specific prayers. Thankfully these seasons for me have ended in repentance, surrender, and trust. Often times we expect God’s answers to look and feel different. His answers at times don’t appear to be answers to us. They appear to be problems like loss, sorrow, conflict, deep soul wrestling, and always exposes our sin. Most of the time we do not see how these answers correspond to our prayers.

    I lost my father last August of 2017 and from the moment we found out about my father’s cancer  diagnosis everyone prayed for a miracle. I knew that if God wanted to heal my dad he could. These prayers were often circled around answers God had already given me internal peace about, yet I selfishly wanted my dad to live another 20 years and had the faith to believe that by some miracle he would make it. The cancer caused my dad to deteriorate slowly, but surely.  My desire to keep my father alive was not a part of God’s plan. I surrendered my pride and it was painful, but His plan is FAR GREATER than our small perception of it. God has been using my grief to teach me deeply that this feeble life is not greater than the next and that His love for me surpasses my fear. Friends, God uses our suffering for our joy and He is worthy of our praise for it! This might be a strange concept for you, but yes God is worthy of praise in giving us suffering!

“Don’t be afraid to pray bold prayers because of fear.”

   You might be tempted to not ask God because you don’t want unpleasant or uncomfortable answers to your prayers. However, don’t be deceived into this short sighted way of thinking. Jesus promises us in John 16: 24 “Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” Jesus clearly tells us that the path to full joy is difficult in John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Also in Matthew 7:14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. 

“Just because it may seem heart wrenching difficult, that does not mean it is not good.”
   The book of Hebrews tells us: For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11) We are not promised a life without sorrow, but if we put our faith in Christ we have to view the way God prunes us as restorative rather than punitive because God has an undying love for His people.
 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
James 1:2-4
   If you’ve ever read the book of Job you know that Job suffered greatly and bore great calamities. As his misery drug out he wavered in his confidence, complained, and questioned God. He also had friends that were trying to indoctrinate him with false theology. They would say that God was causing Job affliction because of His sin. However, God was not punishing him he was using Job’s life and suffering to demonstrate His Glory and for Job’s ultimate good! Job proved to love God more than his possessions. However, God allowed  Job’s suffering to drag on because He was doing a loving sanctifying purging work in Job’s life. Job’s pride was exposed and God allowed him to suffer for the purpose of refining Job’s righteousness. God wants to remove our  disease (sin)  at whatever cost. In Matthew 5:29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to suffer the excruciating pain of a gauged out eye than to let any sin remain in your heart. 
 I am still grieving but by God’s grace I’m also living, have become more dependent on God, walking upright, and giving thanks to the Lord who knows the bigger picture. I have peace about where my dad is spending eternity and I’m also growing in the knowledge of the Lord. God’s unexpected answers to our prayers and His purpose in our suffering is so that we would magnify His glory and grow in Christlikeness. May we view all of life’s circumstances through the lens of the cross and the gospel and may we trust that God is wholly committed to our eternal happiness. We may never fully understand why God answers prayers the way He does on this side of heaven, but we can trust fully that Jesus is with us interceding on our behalf at the right hand of the father. He is working out His purpose in our lives, the lives of our loved ones, and the entire world. The victory has already been won!
Thanks for letting me share this with you.

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  • Reply Monica J. Ketchum

    Shadell, this is beautiful. Have you read The Circle Maker? It’s my favorite book, and this reminded me of it! So grateful you know our God, and that He’s been with you through all of this. ❤️

    May 3, 2018 at 6:21 pm
    • Reply Fuelmama

      Ahh I have read it!! Yes mama God has been doing a great work in my life through my pain.

      May 3, 2018 at 9:09 pm
  • Reply Alexandra Sproule

    Let me just tell you. You have got your heart in the right place. All of these scriptures and your words are completely on point! I lost my father at 16 and had no guidance at all, but you’re seriously on the right track of healing. I was so lost at 16. I know you’ll have hard days…but oh that verse! But take heart…i have overcome the world!!!!!! Preach!!!!!

    May 3, 2018 at 8:44 pm
    • Reply Fuelmama

      Thank you sweet friend! I’m so sorry for your loss it’s incredibly hard. Those hard days are inevitable , but God has been sustaining me. Thank you for reading this!

      May 3, 2018 at 9:11 pm
  • Reply elizabeth whitten

    This is so beautiful!! ❤❤

    May 3, 2018 at 10:18 pm
  • Reply Geneva Daniels

    Beautiful! Your father is beyond proud, I’m sure of it! Praying for you and your family today and always. ❤️

    May 10, 2018 at 8:44 pm
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