“But we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:23-25).
Warning: This devotion is not for a spouse in an abusive marriage. If your marriage is abusive, find help immediately to stop the abuse.
It is essential to accurately recognize how God is working in you during times of suffering. Individuals often see their trials as something happening to them rather than something God is doing in them. Acknowledging that God is doing something in you is more than a courtesy nod. It is sobering. For God to take an interest to help any of us is both humbling and frightening. (See Job 23:15)
The cross of Christ is the perfect picture of a horrific event happening and other-worldly good coming from it. The Jews saw the cross as a stumbling block, while the Greeks saw the cross as foolishness. From God’s perspective, the cross was wisdom and power. There are times in your life when what is best for you is not necessarily the safest path for you. You must understand and believe that God is good and He is working good in you in those moments. Like the baker kneading the dough, your great God is working His transcendent purposes into you by making you a vessel fit for His aims (2 Corinthians 4:7).
While in the crucible of suffering, remember to make copious mental notes of what He is doing in you. Remember the pain. Embrace the suffering. By embracing the agony, you are embracing the God who is working the agony into your life. Though Christ wanted His Father to take away the cup, ultimately He embraced the Father’s work in His life when He said, ”Not my will, but Your will be done” (Luke 22:42). Jesus submitted to His Father, even though it meant He would die. He believed in the good purposes of the Father (Hebrews 12:2).
When you stop resisting your Father’s work in your life and start believing in Him, there is hope for change in you. Accepting the crucible of suffering does not mean your adversity will pass. It only means you will trust the steady hand of God, who is working for your good, regardless of the consequences. Believing in God does not mean things will turn out the way you had hoped. Christ embraced the will of the Father, which led to His crucifixion. Joseph embraced God’s will, and his life involved one disappointment after another. Job said, “Though he slay me, I will hope in him.” (See Job 13:15) Paul believed in God and was beheaded. Peter followed his Savior to his crucifixion.
Believing in God during your time of adversity is a desire to know and follow God regardless of where the path may lead. But you can be assured of this one thing: God is good, and though you may not know the outcome of His excellent work in your life, rest assured that you will be more than satisfied by relinquishing your rights to Him.
If you cannot talk to your spouse about these things, find someone of the same gender willing to walk with you during your time in the crucible.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).