“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 NIV
Did you know that we are approaching the six-month mark of this COVID-19 crisis? Many of us are over it. Throughout my social media feeds, I see families taking vacations with and without precautions. Most people are now more comfortable wearing their masks if it means going out in public. We are desperate to feel some sense of normalcy because we have been suffering through this pandemic. But are we genuinely suffering?
Let’s do this little exercise. It’ll only take a moment. Most of us are in good health. We can pay our bills. Our children are growing while driving us nuts at the same time. We have an internet connection that allows us to connect with family, attend online church and school. Would you agree? Ok, now, let’s flip it.
- Do you know any patients in the hospital clinging to every breath, or have you had to say goodbye to a family member over Facetime?
- Have you lost your business/job?
- Do you worry about how to afford food to feed your family?
- Do you know any children stuck at home with an abusive adult?
If you answered ‘no’ to all of these, I challenge you to be honest, humble yourself, and answer the following question: Are you indeed suffering?
There is no doubt that this pandemic has brought many of us to a level of discomfort that makes us unhappy, anxious, sad, and impatient. When we mix all these emotions and uncertainties, it makes us feel like we are indeed suffering. There is so much suffering happening all around us right now. We must understand that it looks different and feels different for everyone. We’ve been uncomfortable for six months, so it’s no wonder many people are clamoring for the slightest feeling of normalcy.
So, where do we turn for comfort? The Bible.
Throughout the Bible, three things happen for spiritual growth: First, we learn about God and His promises. We believe what we learn and apply it to our own lives. Next, God will test us. God does this on purpose. As you walk with Christ, there will be many tests along the way. Some tests will be small, and other tests will take it all away. In the end, we must remember that God tests us to strengthen our faith in Him. Lastly, we shift from suffering to service. We naturally want to reach out and help others. There is a lot to learn when there seems to be nothing but struggle and pain. It’s natural to want to help someone who is experiencing what you survived. All of these phases bring about spiritual growth.
Most of our readers are in the testing phase of this pandemic. Reflect and be honest with how this pandemic has tested you and how it has tested your faith these last six months. Then make the shift from suffering to service. How has it made you grow? How can you help others shift from suffering to service? I know I’m not the same person I was six months ago. Now the challenge comes in the form of what can I do to help someone struggling through this time of uncertainty? How can I help them find comfort in God’s promises?
We’d love to hear how you are of service to others in pain and discomfort.