Suffering and trials, be it a pandemic or a personal loss, are often God's way of speaking to us. He is showing us that He is sovereign and in control of everything in our life and in the world around us. Suffering and trials are an opportunity to seek God, to pant after Him, and to long for Him. It is a time to listen to God and learn from God. It is a time to remember God in a special way. Although every trial in our life is not the result of some particular sin in our life, it is also a time for repentance and turning to God.
Some time ago I ran across a quotation from one of my devotion books which I had posted on my Facebook page that year. This is what it said: "Suffering calls us out our our shallowness into the dangerous and demanding but ultimately delightful depths of an intense life with God. We simply cannot confront the harsh realities of loss and pain without being stretched and deepened."
That is a pretty profound statement is is not? There is much food for thought in that statement. If deep suffering and even petty daily irritations deepens our intense life with God, should we not actually thank Him for difficult circumstances and situations in our lives?
At the very least I think we should be encouraged and not discouraged when the difficult moments come. Recently I also read the following in my devotions, "To look around is to be distressed; to look within is to be depressed; to look up is to be blessed." Discouragement is a favorite tool of Satan. Will we succumb to discouragement, or will we choose gratitude which is God's way of healing our souls? Lord, help us choose gratitude and Your joy and encouragement.