We have all gone through a seasons of wilderness in our lives, seasons when everything seems to go wrong, when we cry out to God and all we can hear from Heaven is silence. As with everything even through periods of suffering, God brings about His purposes which are always for our good and His glory.
When I was going through a season of what seemed like a wilderness in my life, God used Deuteronomy 8 to show some of the reasons for this period in our lives.
- Humbles, tests and reveals our hearts :
And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.
(Deuteronomy 8:2 ESV)
Suffering brings out the worst in everyone. It shows the pride in our hearts, it reveals in who or what we have placed our trust. It forces us to get on our knees and acknowledge our dependence on God. It reveals the intentions behind our desires. Tribulation is the flame that tests and strengthens faith.
- God’s grace is revealed in suffering:
Verses 3 to 5 tell us that even though it seems like God is far away, He always takes care of His people. In the Israelites’ case God was supernaturally taking care of their needs and providing for them in the desert. They had no choice but to depend on Him for food everyday, and every morning was a reminder that God never forsakes those who trust in Him.
- Means of Discipline: Sometimes God uses the iron rod of suffering to chasten us. But they are never wounds of punishment, but rather to bring us to repentance. He always has compassion on His people and He never leaves us. Like a Father even his wounds are meant to chasten and bring healing
- To bring blessings in to perspective: Its very easy to get lost enjoying the gift that we sometimes lose sight of the giver. When God grants us good things the pride in our hearts make us think that its our own strength that has accomplished things. Periods of suffering sometimes precede blessings to prepare our hearts to receive them and give glory to God.
- Do us Good:
…to do you good in the end.
(Deuteronomy 8:16 ESV)
Sometimes we can’t see God’s purposes in suffering. Sometimes its never revealed to us in this side of eternity. But we can rest in the fact that whatever happens its all works out for our good in the end (Romans 8:28).