Unleash Your Inner Warrior
“We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” – Romans 5:3-5
My dear warriors,
On Sunday I had the joy of getting to listen to a brilliant man of God speak about suffering. It is something that has been on my heart for some time now, and I knew I would write about it today. As warriors, as Christians – and as humans – we are frequently faced with the reality of suffering. In these past few months, I have been dealt more than one heavy blow in my own life; I have met a woman who was thrown from a building and had nearly every bone in her body broken; I have met a man grieving the loss of his father; I have met a young woman without a place to call home. Tragically, suffering is part of the Christian life. According to scripture, it is a critical part of our formation, it is a critical piece of us becoming the men and women of God we are meant to be.
The good news we have as Christian is this: our God is the God of comfort. The Holy Spirit is even called our Comforter. It is quite literally His name and His job title. There is nothing quite so beautiful as when you have nothing left and the God of all comfort comes and sits down beside you, wraps His arms around you and comforts you. My dear warrior, no matter what you are suffering through right now, He is with you. He will comfort you.
It is in these times that we learn to lean on, trust in and rely on God that He imparts to us a deep comfort – it is a gift that we receive in our own suffering, and that we can pass on to others. We get to comfort others with the same comfort we have received.
If you are reading this, I'm sure you have faced difficult loss, endured suffering, or have been burdened with sorrow. I have a question for you: Did you receive comfort from the Lord in your trials? Did you seek out the Lord as your Comforter? Did you become stronger in those difficulties? Did you increase your faith? Did you joyfully accept the difficulties, recognizing the opportunity for a miracle, for character development and for your own personal growth?
(If not, then I must ask: what did you receive from that time? Did you just float through life? Become angry and run in the opposite direction?)
James 1:2-5 says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him."
It is in the dark places that the testing of our faith produces endurance. It is in those times we learn to persevere. It is in those very places that God does the most miraculous things …if we will let Him. It isn’t when things are all sunshine and rainbows that we go deeper into the Lord, or that our character is refined, or that our faith is deepened. It is in the dark places when you feel hopeless that you have an opportunity to get to know a side of God that you could not know in any other time.
Think of it: you have so many different aspects of your personality. But certain sides only come out in certain situations. Not everyone is going to see every aspect of your personality at all times. God is the same way. Testing and trials as an opportunity to get to know part of His nature you would never have been introduced to at any other time. It is in those dark times when you cry out to God that He has the opportunity to reach out and introduce Himself to you in a way you never could have known Him before. And because of that, you give Him the chance to launch you into things you never could have been in any other circumstance.
Inquire of Him: Lord, who is it You want to be for me now that you could not have been for me at any other time?
Don’t waste your sorrows, Beloved. They are literally the building blocks of your future. We are who we are because of the messes we’ve gone through. I have been shaped not by all the things I got right, but by all the difficulties I have endured. In those times, I have either prevailed or failed. Both radically shape who we are. As you enter into deepest waters and your feet cannot find the bottom, you dive deeper into God. It is in your suffering that your character is refined. It is in those deep, deep waters that you will change, and that God will give you endurance to make you complete. It is in those times that wherever you were loose in your heart or character that God will tighten up those places. It is in those times that whatever part of you looks more like the world than Christ that He will refine you and change your nature so that you mayreflect Christ.
Through your suffering, God wants to do two things 1) comfort you, and 2) refine your character. In the times when you are struggling, when it looks like there is no hope, in dark situations where it looks like there are no answers, when you are facing things that do not end, or it looks like there is no way out: learn to cry out to God. Learn to receive from Him.
Suffering will give you strength. I’m sure you’ve heard athletes say, “No pain, no gain.” Just like training works out muscle groups, increases your endurance, and develops strength where you would not naturally have it, testing, trials and suffering increase your strength, endurance and faith. Many people stop moving forward the moment things get tough. Just like people give up on their workout commitments the moment things get uncomfortable, they give up in the face of difficulties in their faith. They don’t see it as an opportunity to grow stronger. Instead, they focus on how tough the circumstances are. Stop looking at the size of your difficulties, and look at the size of your God! Stop looking at how hard things are, and press on to the goal.
Count it all as joy, dear warriors. Even when you feel like you’re falling apart, rejoice in the Lord, always. I’ve said this in almost every blog post here recently, but it is absolutely vital to your own spiritual well being that you rejoice in the Lord, always. Even when you don’t feel like it. Especially when you don’t feel like it.
Anybody can be happy when things are going well. It is not when everything is going well that we learn how to live; it is in the difficulties, the testing, the trials that we learn to have faith, endurance, that we learn to rely on God, that our character is refined, that we choose to serve Him, that we choose to run after Him, that we choose to put on joy.
So many people wander around the same mountain over and over and over and over and over again, not recognizing that if they would simply learn what God is wanting to teach them, that they would no longer have to face that mountain.
Again, inquire of the Lord:
For those of you who are really hurting right now, I want you to go back to that painful moment where you lost a loved one and said you would never recover; when you were betrayed and said you would never get over it or never forgive; where you were cheated in a business deal and no longer feel that you can trust anyone; where you were mistreated or falsely accused of something and feel ashamed and broken. I want you to go back to that moment and receive your healing. Recognize that God did not do this to you, but that He does want to use your circumstances so that He can give you more of Himself. He wants to be your Lover, your Comforter, your Savior, Redeemer, Friend, King and Lord. He wants to refine your character, build your faith and take you deeper into His heart.
My dear warriors, do not waste your sorrows; do not waste your suffering.
©Michèle Aimée, 2015
About the Author
Michèle is a warrior with a passion for God, a deep love of writing, and a fire for combat training. As a warrior, she understands that when she is given orders, she must follow through.