“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.
We all go through difficult times. The difference for those who believe in Jesus is not the absence of the shadow but the presence of the Light.
40 Days in the Word: Learn the Word, Love the Word, LIVE the Word.
The nationwide launch of Pastor Rick’s 40 Days in the Word is coming Jan. 29. Watch a three-minute video testimony of lives already being changed. Download a free sample PDF of 40 Days in the Word.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.