Friday, February 3, 2012

Choosing Praise in Suffering

The first line of the song Worth It All begins with a simple, yet important thought when it says, “I don’t understand Your ways.” When it comes down to it, our minds just cannot ever fully comprehend the vastness of who God is and the "whys" of life. Romans 11:34-35 reads, “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been His counselor?” (ESV) This world is full of suffering and every one of us has shared in the effects of pain and evil events that often surrounds each of our own lives. Even after discussing why there is suffering, how God allows it to happen, and how we can trust the love and justice of the Lord God, it comes down to a choice which accepts the fact that one can never fully grasp it. If you have not experienced it before, know that choosing to praise God in the middle of pain often brings about an unexplainable motivation towards healing. I think a first step to healing can often be to choose to accept that our brains cannot wrap around the ways, attributes, and promises of God. Eventually you will have to make a choice to blame God or praise God. Seeking out answers to the "whys," understanding how a good God would allow evil, is all crucially important and should be handled with care, compassion, and understanding, but I would like to just take this time here, to throw out a little side thought. Sometimes it is just healthy and refreshing to try to accept some things as so. I am not trying to lessen the importance of theological studies and research, but to build up another side of the equation.
There are certain times within suffering where I think about how God tells us to have faith like a child and in choosing to have that faith, give God all of our praise, especially when we do not understand. Hebrews 11:1 states, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (NASB) Many of us do not feel God or see Him working when we are facing serious and painful circumstances, but that does not change the reality that God is alive and actively cares, therefore faith is an element in choosing change. I cannot help but always ask the question, what harm could it ever do to choose to praise God and trust Him no matter what detrimental experiences have taken place in your life? Choosing to praise does not mean we are happy, refraining from righteous anger, or the floods of tears, but it does mean that we are proclaiming victory in Christ over the enemies deceitful ways, and over human sin. What harm can come from holding onto the Savior of the world? Is it not worth a try? The next step after choosing to let go of the pride that tends to blame God for what has occurred in life can then be to choose to reach out to Him in praise. The song uses the words, “desperately seeking, frantic believing,” which reminds us that praising God towards healing is difficult, but then the title of the song reminds us that it is all so worth it. In the book, Hurt People Hurt People, Wilson simply states that, “Change means choosing a new direction”. Maybe praising God could be a new direction for you, which will bring unexplainable healing for you. Wilson also says that, “Only when we’re at the end of ourselves will we reach for something beyond." God is worth it!
If you have a desire to reach for the Lord not only in times when it seems easy to, but also in the seasons of every kind of pain, I pray you can use this song. Use it to help you declare that choosing to turn your eyes, heart, and mind on God in the mist of it will be worth it! Choose to believe that the Lord Jesus is holding onto your pain and wants to pull you closer to Himself in the middle of it all. The sight of His face is truly what we all need.  A heavenly perspective chooses to say as Rita does in her song, “I believe it is going to be worth it, all my pain, all my joy.”

C.S. Lewis once said, “God who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed
you to go through it, not without pain but without stain.” 

In the attached article are some notes providing Scripture and thoughts addressing human suffering and five reasons why God’s people suffer.



  1. I could not agree more in the fact that we will never fully understand why God allows what He allows in this life. Recently, I have been struggling with a lot of “why” questions and I do not have the answers, but we must hold on to the truth that God is good, holy, and righteous. My mother always says that life’s circumstances will either make you bitter or better, and I’ve always tried to hold onto this truth. A few weeks ago, I came across the verse in Isaiah 46:4 that says, “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you. I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” I love how He says that He will sustain us twice in this verse because any time God repeats Himself like that, He desperately wants us to know whatever promise He is making to us. What a beautiful promise! Thank you for your post and the link to this song!

  2. Thank you for sharing that verse Brittany! I love those words and what an important truth to hold on to and believe that the Lord will sustain us, especially in times of hurting. It is also so true that a person can either get bitter or grow from suffering. Its a painful process, but even in pain, we can experience joy when we choose to get better and become stronger through the troubles of life. The devil often tries to make us think that God does not care, but you are so right in declaring that God desperately does wants us to know the truth about who He for us!

  3. I cannot count the amount of times I have said the words “Lord I do not understand your ways”. Reading your post I was truly moved by how truth the words “worth it all” are. I often question God why he would allow his children to go through suffering or why he would take something we loved away from us. But often what I don’t think to myself is how much God protects me through that suffering and pain. I know that I don’t like to view my suffering or trails as a good thing because I want to be selfish and feel sorry for myself. Lately God has been placing on my heart the idea that He has protected me from something ten times worse than what I am going through. I could have even avoided the pain but I wouldn’t listen to Him, therefore I chose that pain in the end. Going through the trails of my life has also prepared me for His will later in my life. In the being revealed to me I can truly say that yes all the pain and suffering is worth it all to bring Him praise and glory.

  4. Emilee, thank you for this beautiful post. It reminded me of Paul's words in Philippians 3:10, "For His sake I have suffered. . . . –that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead." Suffering in itself is definitely not to be glorified. But it is important to remember that the Lord makes all things new, including our sight, and we can look at suffering in new ways. It can allow us to rely on the strength of the Lord in a way that we otherwise wouldn't, and also allow us to get to know Him in a way that we otherwise wouldn't. And we can always have hope, as 2 Corinthians 4:17 tells us, our "light and momentary troubles (which of course are never light or momentary to us when we are experiencing them) are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all."

  5. Thank you Chelsea, I would say that suffering in itself can glorify the Lord. For example, Jesus died on the cross and took the punishment for our sin which glorified God the Father. Also James 1:2 reminds us to count it all joy when we face trial of many kinds. Its a hard thing to understand. I know God does not want evil to happen to us, and it hurts Him, but we have to differentiate that from discipline and suffering that is in God's will.


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