Bless the Lord, O my soul,

and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:2-5, ESV)

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:6-7 NIV)

“The Greek word here for “suffer” is a form of lupeo, which means “severe mental or emotional distress.” – Tim Keller

God is a healing God and we should pursue healing. But while the psalmist tells us not to forget the benefits of following God, most of us tend to focus on what we can get from him more than simply trusting him. When we learn to trust God in the mist of darkness without a sense of his presence, we are starting to grow into spiritual maturity. I’m not there yet but I have experienced enough darkness to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Loving God just because he is God is my goal. Some say Christians aren’t suppose to suffer or that many of our problems are caused by a lack of faith. But the Bible is clear that all of God’s children experience suffering in one form or another.

Emotional suffering is unavoidable in this life. Relationships can be difficult with those love ones that don’t embrace the same biblical worldview that you believe. If you are seeking to follow Jesus you will be misunderstood. Some people that you try to help, will think you are against them, when in fact all you want is God’s best for them. You will be seen as judgmental, even if you have a heart of compassion. The question is, will we love God even if  our broken relationships are never healed? Or, what if physical healing is denied in this life? Or, what if we never get the job we want? The only way to grow closer to God is to trust him even when he seems distant. In the end we will see that God alone is wise and he will ultimately make all things work for our good. 

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28, ESV)