Jesus Doesn’t Expect You to Go Through Hardship Alone

We may not always understand why we’re going through hardship but when you seek God, you will find peace and direction.

This post is a selection from the book What Really Matters: How to Care for Yourself and Serve a Hurting World. We hope it encourages anyone struggling to see God in the midst of hardship. 

When enduring physical or emotional pain—and with no relief in sight—hope can fade into uncertainty. When I was twelve years old, my parents were driving to a business meeting when they were hit by a drunk driver. My father was killed instantly, and my mother suffered numerous broken bones and internal injuries. After the accident, I didn’t doubt God’s love. But my intense pain did cause me to question his authority. I wondered what role he played in my father’s death. Was he a catalyst, bystander, or healer?

Answers from the Bible

With the guidance of my youth pastor, I found some answers in the book of Job. When catastrophe struck, Job did not allow hardship to erode his trust in the Creator. God was his healer and deliverer—not his afflicter. Job 2:7 says, “So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head.” Ultimately God led Job through his season of pain and shame. His health was restored and his wealth multiplied. As a boy who empathized with Job, I prayed God would do the same for me.

Today I still have questions about my father’s death, but I am no longer tormented by them. I’ve forgiven the driver who brought us so much pain, even though I don’t understand how the justice system permitted him to walk away without facing consequences. I’m at peace knowing some events won’t be understood on this side of heaven. Certainly pain persists and scars remain, but God doesn’t waste a single broken piece from my experience or yours. We may not be able to see a completed masterpiece, but the Master is still at work on our behalf.

You may be saying, “I get it—pain isn’t a waste of time! But I’m weary of the fight. I’ve been beaten down and tossed aside for years. I need a breakthrough. I don’t want to live this way.” First, never feel guilty for raw emotion. God wants an honest relationship with you, where you freely share your struggles. He’s not offended by your questions or outbursts. He doesn’t expect you to greet difficult and painful experiences with a smile. That’s robotic. Jesus wants us to be authentic.

You may have good reason to be angry, but you do not have to park there. Jesus doesn’t expect you to go through hardship alone. He is there to comfort and protect you in your time of need. The “Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Rom. 8:26 ESV). And that doesn’t apply just to trauma or painful experiences. Months, years, and decades can pass, and then something triggers your emotions and you find yourself right back where you were.

Time can bring a degree of healing and perspective, but sometimes it doesn’t take much for wounds to reopen and pain to resurface. Even then, God wants you to know you can turn to him for help.

When wounds reopen, here are five promises from God’s Word:

1. Jesus understands your wounds and scars. Isaiah 53:3 says, “He was despised and rejectedby men, a man of sorrows and acquainted withgrief” (ESV).

2. God will never turn against you. Isaiah 41:13 says, “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”

3. God sees your needs 24/7. Psalm 139:7–10 says, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

4. God hears your prayers, and he will answer. Jeremiah 29:12–13 says, “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

5. Jesus is your Healer, and he sees the final outcome. Psalm 41:3 says, “The Lord sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness.”

Imagine that you own a treasured vase, an artifact from the age of Cleopatra that is so valuable, Lloyd’s of London won’t present it for auction because it’s considered priceless. Unfortunately, someone knocks the vase off the mantel, and it shatters into a thousand small pieces. You’re afraid to touch the fragments, so you call in an expert to assist at the “crime scene.”

He promptly sweeps up the shards and says, “Trust me—when I’m done with it, the vase will look as good as new. On the inside there may be evidence of the injury and reconstruction, but this vase will be even stronger once I put it back together.”

That’s what God does for you, his priceless child. He picks up the broken pieces of your life and makes you whole again. The scars are real, but now you are stronger than ever.

There’s so much more to Hal Donaldson’s inspiring story! Not only did God bring great comfort and healing to his life, but he led Hal to share God’s love with others who are in need by founding the global faith-based nonprofit organization Convoy of Hope. In What Really Matters, Hal and his daughter Lindsay Donaldson-Kring share the lessons they’ve learned about how to care for yourself and serve a hurting world. Learn more about What Really Matters here!

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