In the beginning, God. Never have more powerful words been spoken. Genesis 1:1 lays the groundwork for all creation, for all we know and ever will know, for all that is and all that will be. Within six days light flew out of God’s mouth and shut out the light; animals walked the earth; and His most precious creation – a being made in His own exact image – was formed with His two hands and His breath and became man.
It didn’t take God long to create man a helpmate. He knew that man would be in need of fellowship, that man would handle one side of the emotional equation and someone was needed to fulfill the other side. Obviously men are not only rough-and-tumble go-getters; they have their soft moments; just as women are not always sweet and gentle, but also have their bad moments. Regardless, men and women alike learned to live in unity and make friends and families.
Unfortunately, all did not stay well and good in the earth for very long. Sin entered, and with it came a plethora of pain, betrayal, and suffering. The devil took delight in the free rein he thought he was suddenly given. As a result, every day he likes to remind us of how weak and pathetic we are in our human nature.
It is so sad that he tries to forget that we have a loving and all-forgiving Father watching over us.
With suffering comes a lot of lies. It is when we are weak that the devil whispers in our ear whatever it takes to make us hurt and suffer more. Sometimes it can seem like a radio of falsehood is blaring in your ear. No matter how hard you try, you find it increasingly difficult to snuff out the loud voice of the devil and his minions.
How do we deal with our moments of weakness? What are some of the lies that come to us while we are suffering?
Here are three suggestions/ideas that have been helpful to me. It is my prayer that they will be an encouragement to you and/or someone you know.
- It is okay to not be okay.
Regardless of whether or not it is your fault that the relationship has changed, it is okay to sit down and cry and let yourself mourn the changes that have occurred. Keep in mind that this period should not last very long. We are not made to wallow in grief. At the same time, even Jesus took some time to grieve when things didn’t go well (Matthew 26:36-39). Ultimately, I think it is important to realize that you are not meant to be okay all the time. You do not have to “grin and bear it” 24/7. You are human. You are going to have bad days. And, believe it or not, that is okay.
2. Your suffering is not a result of a lack of faith or because God thought you needed to suffer.
That is a lie that the devil loves to use. When you are having a hard day, he loves to whisper in your ear that you are weak and pathetic in your faith and that God finally got tired of you and let you go, saying, “Well, I tried to help you. You’re on your own now.” That is not God’s character in the slightest. I like to think that the devil absolutely hates 1 Peter 5:6-8:
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
The devil wants you to think that your suffering is a result of your sin and that God has left you to your own devices. Well just as John 8:44 states that the devil is a liar, God’s words through Peter prove that nothing could be further from the truth. God never gets tired of you crying out to Him. It is true that He may withdraw His hand so your realization of your need for Him is renewed; but He does not take joy or pride in that. He cries with you, mourns with you, holds you and puts the broken pieces back together.
3. Your suffering will last forever.
I think this is one of the most often-heard lies. When we are in the moment, it is difficult to remember how long (or short) the suffering has lasted. Sometimes it feels like it has gone on forever. You start to have difficulty remembering the last time you felt free. The last time you smiled. The last time you laughed. The last time you didn’t have a care in the world. Eventually you convince yourself that you have never been happy; that suffering is all you have ever known.
Fortunately, this is not the case. Even if you were to suffer your entire life on earth, that is only a small snapshot of your life. The life you live on earth cannot even be seen in the grand timeline of God’s existence. Once you reach heaven, there will be no memory of the suffering. All you will see is Jesus’s face. Until then, God is faithful to hold you close and remind you of His love for you. He does give you times without suffering. He does allow you to enjoy life. Which brings me to my last point…
4. You are meant to suffer while on earth.
What a dangerous, scary, and depressing thought. This is the reason there are so many suicides. Why people are throwing themselves off cliffs or walk around with their heads bowed and shoulders slumped. Often we start to think we deserve the suffering; that instead of us being created to enjoy life, we were meant to suffer through it. This is simply not the case. I absolutely love Ecclesiastes 5:18:
Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage.
What a beautiful and glorious promise! God states in His Word that we are to enjoy life. That to enjoy life is our inheritance. What better inheritance can one have than to enjoy life? What better lot to be given than to laugh and be happy and enjoy simply living?
I am sure there are other lies that could be addressed, but hopefully the four I have listed – and their counterattacks – are helpful and bring encouragement to you today.