One of the beautiful things about Scripture is that it’s filled with real people who deal with real life. People who learned that God walks beside them through their suffering.
Friend, He’ll do the same for you.
Biblical characters are not stained-glass saints. They were regular folks who fought disappointment and frustration. They endured suffering that was their fault and that wasn’t their fault. They knew heartache better than they wish they did.
Heroes are forged in the fires of adversity, and the heroes of the Bible are no different.
Take Moses, for example. He stood on holy ground as YHWH, the living God of his long-gone ancestors, spoke to him from a burning bush, giving him the news every Israelite longed to hear:
“The Lord said, ‘I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them…’” (Exodus 3:7–8)
And then He sent Moses on a task that began with miracles, mountaintop experiences, and mighty displays of power – and ended with 40 years of grumbling in the desert.
Or take David. This man was a giant slayer, a military genius… a man after God’s own heart. When King David offered to build the Lord a temple in place of a tabernacle, God offered him a powerful promise instead:
“I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth. And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed…” (2 Samuel 7:9–10)
But then David committed adultery, killed a good man, and spent years disappointed by his own rebellious children
Or Job. Far and away, Job was the wealthiest, godliest, greatest man of his time. And yet in a matter of moments, he lost everything. Broken doesn’t even begin to describe how he felt.
Moses was frustrated. David was disappointed. Job was heartbroken. All of them – and many, many others – nearly crumbled beneath life’s pain.
Do you know how they feel?
You see, Jesus Christ walked the same earth they did. The same earth you’re walking on today…
And when He did, Jesus’ disciples misunderstood Him, His friend betrayed Him, and the religious leaders – who should have loved Him most – hated Him so much they killed Him.
So when you feel frustrated, disappointed, and heartbroken, God knows how you feel.
And when you’re suffering, it’s important to remember three things:
1: You’re not alone. Suffering pulls you away from the things and people you once relied on, so you can feel terribly alone. But the truth is, suffering forces you to move closer to God – who’s always trying to move closer to you. When you have nothing to hold onto but Jesus, you discover He’s all you ever really had.
As Hebrews 13:5 promises, “God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’”
2: Suffering has a purpose – even though you may not know it until you get to Heaven. When you get there and when God says, “This is what was going on,” you’ll sit back and say “Ohhh… I see it now.” Because if God Himself knows how it feels to suffer, He will not leave His child, whom He loves, to suffer for no reason.
2 Corinthians 4:16-20 reminds us, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
3: God sees you, and He keeps His promises. Do you remember what the Lord said to Moses?
“I have indeed seen the misery of my people …. I have heard them crying out … and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them…”
God is the same God today as He was when He spoke to Moses out of the fire. He sees your misery. He hears you crying out. He is concerned about your suffering. And He came down to rescue you – on the cross.
He is the same God who promised David, “I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own.” And in 1948, around 3,000 years after God spoke those words, Israel became a nation – you can get on an airplane and fly to it today. The Jews have a home of their own.
More than that, Jesus told His disciples – and you and me – in John 14:20, “I am in my Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you.” Our place, our home is eternally in Christ.
Finally, when Job realized his life rested in the same hands that hold the whole together, he worshipped God – even in his brokenness. Even when he had no promise things would ever get better. And God not only restored what Job had lost, He added to it.
Friend, our God is faithful. He keeps His promises.
God sees you, He hears you, and He knows how you feel. When you’re in a season of suffering, you can be confident you’re not alone. Because the God who walked faithfully beside the heroes of the Bible, through good and through bad, walks beside you – and He always will.