Hold Fast to Christ during Seasons of Pain

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Hold Fast to Christ during Seasons of Pain

Though we may not understand the purpose behind our pain, we can rest assured that Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, is ever faithful in His promises to each of us (Hebrews 13:8). He alone has given us time, life, and purpose in the things we are going through. And even when life hurts and gets hard, or when it is happy-go-lucky, there is a time and a season designed with a specific plan just for you.

Over the past decade, my family has experienced a Job Season of Life (pronounced Jobe as in a person, and not job like a career path). From dwindling mental health crises to the surgeries and hospitalizations of my father, this season has been exhausting. Between my siblings' state of affairs or personal struggles, trouble has been in our forecast.

While my home has externally fallen apart over the years, it has also been crumbling from the inside out: 

Mentally, I am tired. 

Physically, I feel carved out. 

Emotionally, I am anxious 90% of the time.

And a lot of the time, I have found myself asking the Lord when I can escape this season. I have begged Him to throw off the constant defeat I feel from the evil forces against us (Ephesians 6:12).

Through much anxiety, depression, and chaos, it has been harder to find hope. Even amid the supportive love and care of friends, no one but the Lord understands what it is like to go through what you are experiencing.

As the months turn into years and the years into decades, it seems that life has only gotten more challenging. There are more days of defeat than victory, tears than laughter, pain than dancing. Those things have not stopped.

But you know what has come to a halt?

My mental state of thinking Why me?  

Why us? 

When will it ever stop?

Because I realized that I do not need sympathy, I need the Lord's strength. And I started praying because I do not want consolation; I want and need His power.

Of course, I wish I could say that my life has drastically gotten better, and all of our Job-like moments have ceased, but if that were the case, then we would not be living in this fallen state of humanity.

I wish I could say that I have learned to appreciate and sincerely thank God for all of these difficulties, but this is a process. And these times of testing in our lives may merely be seasons we are walking. As the colors of winter fade into spring, summer, and fall, I know that restoration, growth, rebirth, and development are on the way.

In Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, Solomon writes that there is a time for every activity under Heaven.

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under Heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).

Just like a tree, or the four seasons of our planet, we all go through seasons, and these make up our lives. From jobs to friends, troubles, achievements, ups, and downs, these circumstances surrounding us change daily. Take a look at Job, for instance.

Job was a righteous man who had everything he would ever need in life, yet he lost everything he ever had. Going from riches to rags, even when left with nothing but God, His faith alone helped him realize that God alone was enough.

At the end of Job's story, it is his faithfulness and honor to Christ that restores his rags to riches, and God blesses him with more than he ever asked or imagined, something that never would have happened without his struggles.

But Job reveals to us that his transformation and season of life were not easy. He questioned the things happening and even asked his friends for advice much as we do.

In Job 1:21-22, Job praised God after everything was taken from him.

“’When I was born into this world, I was naked and had nothing. When I die and leave this world, I will be naked and have nothing. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Praise the name of the Lord!’ Even after all this, Job did not sin. He did not accuse God of doing anything wrong” (Job 1:21-22, ERV).

However, a few chapters later, he also cried out in anguish, cursing the day he was born (chapter 3), and questioned God (“Do you enjoy hurting me?”) (Job 10:3, ERV).

As I reflect, I am filled with sorrow for Job. I have asked God the same questions. But in Job's gratitude, I have also rejoiced because these emotions reveal his humanness.

woman looking anxious and afraid sitting on the floor

Photo credit: Unsplash/Joice Kelly

Though we may not understand the purpose behind our pain, we can rest assured that Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, is ever faithful in His promises to each of us (Hebrews 13:8). He alone has given us time, life, and purpose in the things we are going through. And even when life hurts and gets hard, or when it is happy-go-lucky, there is a time and a season designed with a specific plan just for you.

While God does not delight in our suffering, I firmly believe that when we shed our tears, He cries right along with us. When we hurt, He hurts. When we ask why and go through earthly versions of Hell, He holds our hand and lifts us above the fire because He already paid that eternal price. Going through challenging times is an opportunity to depend on Him who gives us strength.

Because today, when life is great and rainbows are headed our way, it can be easy to forget about God and forget to thank Him for where you are. But when we have reached the end of our rope, the end of ourselves, and are given no other choice but to rely on His strength for every physical, mental, social, and emotional need we have because it has all been taken away from us, that is when we authentically begin to gain intimacy with Him.

Today, I cannot tell you why these things keep happening to my family, but I do not believe it is because we are being punished for some secret sin. Jesus already paid the price for that when He died on the cross over 2,000 years ago. The life He calls us to live today is one of peace, joy, surrender, and freedom.

Today, I cannot tell you what it feels like to witness your family being ripped apart by drugs, abuse, and alcoholism at the schemes of Satan’s hands. I do not have the words to explain why my father has had to suffer in excruciating pain for the past 12 years without relief, or why the ineffective medication he has been prescribed has only created a cycle of vicious moods and delusions. My heart aches at the thought of my parent's marriage-less marriage and the pain I feel when I watch my mom work twelve-hour shifts that barely make enough money, and that will never be enough to fix the hundreds of broken things within her heart.

Despite these calamities, however, what I can tell you is that I still serve a good God who is faithful and knows what we need before we ever speak a word. As I sob on my floor praying for Him to bring healing, something within me feels beautifully broken in the arms of His Spirit.

I can tell you that though my family is being torn apart, it is our faith in Christ that is fighting off Satan and his schemes. And with the Armor of Christ on our side, all things are possible through His strength (Philippians 4:13).

With hope, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t pray for my family and friends to be restored. And today, tomorrow, and forever, I still believe we serve a God of miracles. Because as much as it pains me to walk through these hills and valleys, I know that I will come out with Jesus on the other side.

Now, today, this week, this month, this year, that is all just a season. But like all seasons, these times must eventually cease to pass. And until those moments come, until these seasons transform from death to life, mourning to dancing, hate to love, and war to peace, I will faithfully praise my loyal God because unlike the seasons, He is steadfast, never changing, ever-present in His grace. Regardless of my circumstances, He remains the same. Unwavering in love, caring in character, providing in nature and exact in times of need, even in just a season.

Photo credit: Unsplash/Sasha Freemind

amber ginter headshotAmber Ginter is an aspiring 25-year-old writer that currently works as an English teacher in Chillicothe, Ohio, and has a passionate desire to impact the world for Jesus through her love for writing, aesthetics, health/fitness, and ministry. Hoping to become a full-time freelancer, Amber seeks to proclaim her love for Christ and the Gospel through her writing, aesthetic ministry team (Aisthitikós Joy Ministries), and volunteer roles. She is also the author of The Story I've Never Told, which is currently in the publishing process. Amber has freelanced for Daughter of Delight, Kallos, Anchored Passion, Crosswalk, No Small Life, Darling Magazine, Called Christian Writers, Southern Ohio Today News, The Rebelution, Ohio Christian University, and The Circleville Herald. Visit her website at amberginter.com.