You will find God in a place you don't want to go


Where do you go to find God? Why is it so hard to find someone who is supposed to be everywhere?

The answer to those questions is that God is most present in a place none of us wants to go: suffering. And the truth, of course, is that's where we need him most.

Nobody likes to suffer. We try to avoid it as much as possible, but one of the inescapable facts of life is bad things do happen to good people. When we suffer, we usually spend so much time complaining about how unfair it is that we fail to get anything out of it.

I did that many, many times and I'm telling you honestly, don't make the same mistake I made.

When suffering overtakes you and you can't escape it, learn something from it. Benefit from it. Use adversity to make you stronger and wiser than you were before.

Let's see how to do that.

No, we're not exempt

Suffering feels like the perfect opportunity to blame God. He's often our scapegoat when things go wrong. If you're a Christian, you think you deserve better. You think you should be exempt from suffering.


But Jesus wasn't exempt. That truth should be enough to make us straighten up.

God built into each of us a desire for fairness. Life isn't fair, though. Good people get sick. Good people lose their jobs, get divorced, and have all kinds of catastrophes happen to them. Good people like you suffer.

It takes real humility to stop blaming God for your suffering. I confess it's taken me most of my life to learn that lesson. The short answer is that we suffer because we live in a fallen world. Still, when you're really hurting, that doesn't give much comfort.

Yes, it takes lots of willpower to calm down enough to get something out of your suffering, but what's the alternative? Complain and whine? Make yourself even more miserable? Get bitter and alienate your loved ones? Pity yourself so much you become unattractive to a potential spouse?

We all want to find God. Suffering is our chance to do it quicker.

Find God by changing your approach

When something bad happens to us, the most important question to ask is not "Why?" but "What would you have me do now, Lord?"

We find God when we want to have a relationship with him. That's his deepest desire for us. Suffering is raw. It slams you down to the bottom of life. You're finally ready to surrender and depend on God.

God wants us to depend on him totally, all the time. He is our Father and wants us to be his children. Suffering strips away your pride and your independence. When you really hurt, that's when you find God.


Old, experienced Christians, with gray hair and wrinkled faces, know what it means to find God in suffering. They may walk slowly, stooped over by age, but they've been through the fire and have come out the other side because they encountered God there. When you know God is going to stick with you no matter what, it brings an unexpected peace of mind.

They have found, through personal experience, that God is reliable. You can read that in the Bible a hundred times, but when you discover it firsthand, then it becomes a pillar of your faith.

Remembering what you've learned

Suffering can make you say, "Okay, God. I finally realize how helpless I am. I need you big time. Will you please pull me out of this pit?"

Slowly, gradually, he does. Sometimes it takes years. I think the speed depends on how much we submit to him. Sure, we have a part to play, but if we keep remembering that the object is a closer, more intimate relationship with God, not necessarily an instant end to the suffering, we either get relief from the suffering or he gives us supernatural strength to bear it. I've experienced both.

We may still backslide. Our sinful nature wants us to exert our independence again. We get overconfident and forget what we've just learned.


Whether God allows more suffering to come to us I'm not sure, but if we don't learn our lesson very well, we tend to get another dose. Regardless, suffering will come our way again. If we let it bring us into a closer relationship with God, pain will be easier for us to cope with next time.

If you're suffering now, look for God in it, not to blame him, but to cry out to in prayer. He wants to supply the strength and courage you need to press on. God will give you as much of himself as you desire. That's divine compensation for suffering.

When we find God, we find the deeply satisfying love we've always searched for. 

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