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Trials Make Us Crave God’s Mercy and Love

suffering and trials

Psalm 107 begins, “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say this.” The psalmist details the sufferings of God’s people, wandering in desert wastelands, without homes, hungry, and thirsty. “Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress” (verse 6). For their deliverance he says, “Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things” (verses 8–9).

Often we look at suffering from our perspective and forget that God sees from another vantage point. We cannot see the end He has in mind. “When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me” (Hosea 13:6). We forget God to our own detri­ment. Suffering and death remind us of Him in ways that pleasure and prosperity don’t.

My wife Nanci understood that God was using her cancer to help her know and trust Him more. She wrote in her journal:

Prior to entering the Promise Land, God warned Israel that they would be tempted to forget Him once all the battles had been won and the bounty of Canaan had been secured. Life would be easy; life would be good. Their focus would turn toward enjoying everything that God provided and away from God Himself.

I have experienced that, to some degree, in my journey through cancer. When approaching tests or procedures, I abide in God’s presence and crave His mercy and love.

After those trials have been resolved, I tend to slide into a place of contentment without the level of dependance and deep communion with God that I craved while suffering. My love and desire for God never vanishes; but suffering amplifies it and comfort muffles it to varying degrees.

So today, with tears and shaking, I told God (again) that I want to be willing to remain in suffering in order to invoke in me a greater and more lasting level of devotion to Him. I begged for His strength to own that desire. I can’t muster up the courage on my own. I’ve received that strength before, and feel it returning now.

Lord, use my suffering to bring glory to you and to draw me deeper into your love.

This article originally appeared here and is used by permission.

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Randy Alcorn is the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries (www.epm.org), a nonprofit ministry dedicated to teaching principles of God’s Word and assisting the church in ministering to the unreached, unfed, unborn, uneducated, unreconciled, and unsupported people around the world. Before starting EPM in 1990, Randy served as a pastor for fourteen years. He is a New York Times best-selling author of over fifty books, including Heaven (over one million sold), The Treasure Principle (over two million sold), If God Is Good, Happiness, and the award-winning novel Safely Home. His books sold exceed ten million copies and have been translated into over seventy languages.