Sweet Suffering

It’s taken me a few years to come to the following conclusion. If God, the Creator of the universe, Maker of all things, fully able Healer, knew from the beginning of time that my husband would glorify Him best by being a quadruple amputee, then the transition happened as smoothly as it ever could. He planned and executed it perfectly. Although I never saw it coming – the toughest two years were also the sweetest our family has ever endured. blog5_31

Sweet might not be the word most people would use for our situation. Maybe trial, struggle, or storm may seem more accurate. Sweet doesn’t describe my husband’s near death experience or my inadequate parenting of my young children while he was hospitalized time and time again. Sweet doesn’t describe the pain he went through for six months before we finally agreed to amputate his legs and fingers. Sweet definitely doesn’t describe my level of exhaustion, or the dependence on others for our basic needs such as food and a roof over our heads when my husband – our only income – was unable to work.

And yet, reflecting upon it now, I can say without a doubt, it was a sweet time. It was God’s plan. He had planned it all along.

I could write a book about all the lessons we learned those two years, from full submission to His will, to trusting Him through everything, to giving over control, to accepting that He would meet all our needs when we couldn’t, the list could go on and on. He gifted us with an experience others rarely face, and now we are to glorify Him through it.

Jeremiah 29:11 has always been one of my go-to verses. In times of despair or hopelessness, it brings a comfort and peace only God can provide.

“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11

Here’s the thing, though. Many people know the verse, but do not know its context. We take verses from Scripture to fit our needs without knowing the full story. Do you know what was happening in the book of Jeremiah at the time when God declared this? Who was He speaking to? If it hadn’t been for my reading the Old Testament last year or the studying I’ve done for this week’s post, I probably wouldn’t either.

Let me explain. The Jewish people of this day had disobeyed God and worshiped false gods. As a result God sent them into exile in Babylon as punishment. The context of Jeremiah 29 is exile! Jeremiah tells them their exile is to continue, but encourages them by asking them to persevere during this dark time.

“Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” ~Jeremiah 29:7

Then He tells them it will be seventy years before He brings them home. They are to continue to live their lives in this state of exile, knowing some of them would never make it the seventy years. Now we can insert this hope filled verse…

“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11

God, in all his wisdom and perfection, knows best and has a perfect plan for all. The people may not have looked at their time in exile as “sweet,” but it was a time when God wanted them to grow and persevere. He placed them there. God did not take away their suffering, He wanted them to trust what He was doing and to be resilient.

As author Mary DeMuth writes, “let’s remember that the best growth comes through persevering through trials, not escaping them entirely. And when we learn perseverance, we find surprising joy.” (Web Source: https://www.marydemuth.com/jeremiah-29-11/)

In my own life, I can honestly say that my family’s suffering has changed my heart. I am different. I trust God in all things. I believe his trials in our lives are purposeful and that they will bear fruit someday. I’m grateful for our “sweet suffering.” Without it, we wouldn’t have the closeness and faith in God that we are so privileged to call our own.

Are you facing a trial of your own? Do you feel like the Jewish people in exile just wanting to go home? Take courage, dear sister. God has plans for you. And remember, what you are going through is all part of the plan – His plan. Be resilient, brave, persevere, and look forward to the future He promises you.

Lord, thank you for Your Word. We love you and trust your plans for our lives. Amen.


2 thoughts on “Sweet Suffering

  1. This was forwarded to me by my wife, Noemi. While not a woman, I am very appreciative of the testimony given here. What a fabulous article. The thoughts expressed here are not generally accepted by Christendom. These days, God is expected to be the escape provider from all of our immediate troubles. His plan is perfect. It glorifies Him. That is His purpose for all things. Thanks, Denisse for setting the record straight through the life lessons of the Warshak family. We love you guys!

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    1. Thanks, Arlie! It was a tough one to write… to explain the context of the popular verse. Noe people will understand it’s true meaning and purpose as we do. 😊

      Like

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