Trusting God in the midst of trial or tribulation does not mean everything will work out. It means that by trusting in God we find peace, purpose, and power, even if the worst-case scenario happens.
The scriptures are filled with stories of those who trusted God even when it hurt and was painful to do so. To name a few:
- • Joseph was sold into slavery and imprisoned. (Gen. 37)
- • Job lost his good health, wealth, and children. (Job 1)
- • A messenger sent from Satan harassed Paul continually. (2 Cor. 12:7-10)
- • Struggles come with pain
- • Struggles come for and with a purpose
- • Struggles come with power
I. Paul’s Pain and Struggles
Pain and struggles are a part of life. Paul struggled with sin, the church, and daily conflict with Satan. (Rom. 7:14-25; II Cor. 6:3-10; 12:7-10) This daily conflict was called a messenger of Satan that beat and harassed him constantly.
Paul was not exempt from struggles and pain and neither are we. The scriptures declare, “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Tim. 3:12 - KJV)
Jesus, the Son of God, struggled and had pain as well. He was constantly attacked by the religious leaders of his time. He was betrayed, rejected, and disappointed by those he came to ransom his life for. Yet Jesus trusted God the Father while being in pain and agony. From the Garden of Gethsemane he prayed until these words fell from his lips, “Nevertheless, not my will but your will be done.” (Matt. 26 - KJV)
Your struggles and pain are a part of life. In every life there is day and night; sunny days and stormy days; cold days and hot days. There is a time and season for us all. (Eccl. 3)
II. The Purpose of Pain & Struggles
2 Cor. 4:17,18 (KJV)– Light affliction for a moment working for eternal glory
There is a purpose for your pain and your struggles. Paul was given a thorn in his flesh, a messenger from Satan, not Satan himself, but a messenger. God allowed it to be so. Satan sent the messenger. Have you met Satan’s messenger?
The messenger was sent “to keep him humble” because of the greatness of the revelation Paul had received. Paul was once taken to the third heaven and saw things that were not permissible for him to tell. This messenger from Satan prepared Paul against future attacks. He learned to trust God because of the thorn in his flesh. He experienced the sufficiency of God’s grace. As a result of the thorn Paul turned to God. It taught him to depend on God. The thorn caused him to stay close to God through prayer.
III. The Power of Paul’s Pain
Acts 9:16 (KJV) - show him how many things he must suffer
The greater our position in the body of Christ, the greater our pain, and the greater the pain the greater the power of God is revealed. God does not cause the pain in our lives but He allows it. “All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:28) God used Paul’s pain to reveal His power. He kept saying to Paul “My grace is sufficient for you.”
Joseph’s brothers sold Joseph into slavery. It wasn’t until years later that he realized God’s purpose for his pain. It was to give Joseph the power and authority to save not just his family but also a nation. (Gen. 50:19-21)
Paul prayed three times that the thorn in his flesh be removed, but he did not get what he wanted. God gave him what he needed, Grace! God’s grace met whatever demands were made upon his life. Over and over again the power was revealed through his pain. He was healed of a poisonous snakebite. (Acts 28:3) Paul prayed for a dead man who died from a broken neck and he recovered. Yet, Paul could not cure himself. He could only bear in his body this thorn because of the Grace of God.
If we trust God even when we hurt, God will make all grace abound toward us. (II Cor. 9:8) Not just saving grace, but keeping grace.
If we can trust God even when we hurt, his grace will restore, establish, strengthen, and support us. (I Peter 5:10 - KJV)
A Father and his daughter were driving when a storm came upon them. The daughter was driving. The storm made it difficult to see and to control the vehicle. Cars and semi-tractor trailers were pulling over on the side of the road. The daughter prepared to pull to the side of the road as well. Suddenly her father said, “Keep driving.” She said to him, “Dad, you told us that when in a storm we should pull over until it passes.” He said, “I know but keep driving.” She kept driving. She saw cars on the side of the road, motorcycles, parked under bridges, and large semi-tractor trailers on the side of the road. She kept driving. Suddenly the storm passed as quickly as it had begun. Now her father said, “Pull over.” She said, “Dad, the storm is over we can make up for lost time.” He said, “I know but pull over.” She pulled to the side of the road and her dad asked her to get out of the car. As they exited the car her father asked her, “What do you see?” She said, “I see vehicles parked on the side of the road.” He said to her, “If you had stopped, you would still be in the storm parked on the side of the road. Because you kept driving you are now out of the storm.”
If we trust God even when we are hurting, in pain, or in a storm, He will bring us through. Just trust in God and keep moving forward.
The power of God is made available to you. If you are struggling with the issues of life, God’s power is made available because “His grace is sufficient.”
From a perplexing passage, we can glean powerful principles applicable to all we encounter. In times of infirmity, pain or struggles, trust God enough to pray. But don't be surprised if the answers to your prayers are similar to those given to Paul
- • "My grace is sufficient for you."
- • "My strength is made perfect in weakness."
- • Dr. Banks has served as the Lead Pastor of the New Creation Church of God in Flint, MI since 2004.
- • He is a strong supporter of the Revive Flint Initiative in an effort to Evangelize the city of Flint. He also advises and serves other non-profit organizations.
- • Dr. Banks earned his Doctorate of Ministry at Andersonville Theological Seminary in Camilla, GA. His ministerial affiliation is with the National Association Church of God at West Middlesex, PA and the Church of God Anderson, IN.
- • Dr. Banks is a devoted husband, father and proud grandfather who values spending quality time with his family.