Read (from the New Living Translation)

James 1:2-4

2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

Go Deep

Wally_WBSGbioWally from The Wally Show is back with a perspective you may not have thought of before. 

Often when we face those life altering hurts we think, “God why are you doing this to me?” But what if God is not doing something to you, but rather is looking to do something through or for you?

I do not believe God causes pain, but I do believe he redeems it and uses the bad in life for good. In pain we have a choice.

Do we point people to God or do we steer people away from Him based on how we choose to go through the situation? Many times we do not have a choice when it comes to hurt. Maybe your marriage dissolved at no fault of your own, maybe you are a casualty of downsizing at work, or maybe you suffered unimaginable abuse at the hands of someone who was supposed to love you. Those are things we would never choose, but we do have a choice in how we react to these events.

Writer Jon Acuff, who we’ve had on the show many times, spoke at my church. He talked about an email he received from a soldier who just got back from Afghanistan who lost her leg and was wondering how this could possibly be God’s plan for her life.

This is a tough question and you may not like the answer. When it comes to trials in this life the Bible says in James 1:2-4 “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.”

I don’t know about you, but as my life implodes I rarely consider it joy. Yet this is how the Bible says we should view the trials of this life.

For me the take away is that even pain has a purpose. Sometimes it’s so other people come to know God because of how they see you go through your trials. Other times the trials are designed to cement you to God. I know that in the good times my faith can become stagnant. It is usually in the tough times where my faith grows.

It is that principle of no pain no gain.

Athletes are well aware of this. The pain they experience is what enables them to perform at a higher level. Our faith can be viewed the same way.

Another way to look at this is like a battle. Soldiers who go through battle together form a tight bond because they have to rely on each other to survive. Their resolve is tested, trust is developed, and a relationship is formed from sharing that experience. This too is applicable when it comes to our relationship with God and hard times.

If we look at it through the right lens we see clearly the character of God when we face difficult times. We see that He can be trusted as our faith is tested. We see His provision when we focus and Him rather than our life-consuming problems. The result is – our strength and relationship with Him grows. Ultimately that is what we should seek, even above comfort, but I realize that is a very tall order.

I don’t know what God has planned for the solder who lost her leg, but I do know this:

Even the things we would never choose have a way of being good for us and others when we allow God to be a part of it instead of pushing Him away.

So how do you face the trials of life when we have been conditioned inside our faith to pretend everything is unicorns and rainbows when it is not and that if we have doubts or concerns that somehow makes us bad believers?

The good news is, as you process looking at pain in a different light, you are not alone. Most of the heroes of the Bible faced trials and even questioned God. The thing is, God is big enough to handle your doubts questions and fears. So here are three things to keep in mind as you walk through tough times:

  1. Admit you’re hurting.
  2. Be honest with God about what you are feeling.
  3. Remember that God is for you and not against you.

Laura Story’s song Blessings really speaks to this principle of pain having a purpose.

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise.

One practical thing you can try as you face trials, is to find one thing in life to praise God for when you are struggling. When you feel heavy, praise Him for that one thing again, and again, and again. What you might find in doing this is you will find other things to be thankful for and before you know it, your focus shifts from what you do not have to what you do have and are thankful for.

Also, you will have been praying all day which ultimately helps build your relationship with God, giving a purpose for the pain.

Notes from the Beyond Suffering Bible

Perseverance Is Hard – When we face trials and hardships, our instinct may be either to take control and solve the problem or to run away from it. James says such trials help us develop maturity and perseverance. The key is to endure suffering faithfully, remaining focused on the final goal: to become more and more like our Savior.

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180 Comments on "Day 21: “No Pain, No Gain.”"

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Unathi
Member
You’re right, Wally. Sometimes our trials are intended to push us closer to God, to seek Him. I find that true in my life. I also find that many of my struggles are meant to help me 1) realize where I have cracks in my character and 2) to give an opportunity to exercise the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, goodness, gentleness, self control, faithfulness, patience, kindness, long-suffering, etc. We live in a broken world where not everyone is trying to be imitators of Christ. Some practice evil like it’s a calling. But, these struggles we go through… Read more »
Catherine Waters
Member

Well said!

Dori
Member

Eloquent and true!!

Nancy
Member

I agree well said,thank you

T Swift
Member
I like how Wally pointed out that we have a choice… we get to choose how we respond to things. I just watched a video last week of Scott Hamilton. He has been diagnosed with cancer for the third time (his brain tumor is back), and one of the things he said was, “Fall down, get up, and smile like Kristi Yamaguchi.” They showed a clip of Kristi skating in a competition where she fell down HARD after a difficult jump and jumped up and continued skating like nothing had happened. At the end of the routine when she took… Read more »
Nancy
Member

Yes I saw the scott h.video also an he was wonderful I would hate to see how I would act.he had such a wonderful outlook on the whole thing.god bless him

Karen
Guest

Count it all as joy!

Loran
Member
I’ve had a lot of suffering, or trials in the past couple of years and I can honestly say it has taught me to trust God and to understand that it’s just temporary–nothing will last forever except Jesus’ love and the kingdom of God. My husband had an affair and left me, my son then was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, before his chemo was complete, my mother died, and then I had to leave our home because my ex husband had stopped paying the mortgage without telling me and it was foreclosed. That’s a lot to deal with in just a… Read more »
pmcmill
Member

Hi Loran. If you don’t mind sharing, did you immediately go to God with all of this or were you down for a while? I have had one thing after another for almost 4 years: health problems, financial problems, housing problems and loss of support. I am still struggling with trusting God and not getting depressed and anxious. Thanks and God bless

Loran
Member
Hi Paige! I didn’t mean to imply that I never was depressed or felt sorrow. When my husband left, I went through all the stages of grief, MULTIPLE times! lol But I had been praying for a few weeks before he left that God would especially pour out His Spirit on my husband and that God’s will would be done in his life. (He has a drinking problem.) And when he left I knew that I had done what I should and that it was God’s will for us to move on. But it did hurt. When my son was… Read more »
Kimwo
Member

Wow Loran! Thank you for sharing and just WOW WOW and WOW. Your story brought tears to my eyes, God is soooo good!

Loran
Member

I’m glad my story brought you comfort! Thank you for your comments. It helps to hear that.

daughteroftheKing
Member
This reply is for Loran & Paige: I am truly inspired by both of you as you shared your struggles. Maybe that’s another reason why God allows trials in our lives…to help inspire another Christian to trust God through the trial. Paige, you talked about having financial difficulties, and I can relate. One thing that has really helped me to trust God is to keep track of all He does for me. In 2005/2006, a friend suggested that idea to me, and I decided to do it. I keep a binder, I typed it, single-spaced, and I’m on page 18.… Read more »
Loran
Member
I haven’t had a chance to share with anyone yet, but after I came home this afternoon, I had a call from the realtor representing the mortgage owner and they’re paying me $2,000 to be out by 11/18. An incentive to vacate without eviction. So, I can even be blessed and not have to worry about a yard sale and not have to split the money with my ex (who is also on the deed) because it’s for vacating not as a foreclosure settlement. God is very good. That’s more than I would have made in a sale, AND I… Read more »
Unathi
Member

Thank you for sharing how you trusted good, and are continuing to trust Him, though all your struggles. Loran, I’ll be praying. God’s is faithful!

Dori
Member

Incredible testimony!

Loran
Member

I grew up knowing a Dori in Conn! 🙂 Thank you.

Melinda
Member

I am going through the affair and being separated after 29 years. It has been rough but the health of a child, the death of your mother and your house is a tremendous amount of pain and sorrow. I am sorry you are going through this. I will pray for you to continue to weather this storm. You are an inspiration to me.

Klandburg
Member
Thank you for your inspiring testimony. I’ve shared before my husband left me two yrs ago leaving me only a note after 34 yrs of marriage. I didn’t think I could survive and to be honest sometimes I still don’t. A few months after he left I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The last two years have been spent having surgeries, treatments and many complications. My brother passed away the month I had my last chemo treatment. I thank God I had great family support. I have to say I hurt more from my husband leaving me then the cancer… Read more »
Loran
Member

Thank you! I appreciate your prayers.

Marty
Member

This is a hard concept to master but Wally is right…focus on what is good and be thankful for the blessings rather than getting sucked down in the quagmire of despair and self pity. Satan is good at manipulating our thoughts negatively when trouble occurs because he wants to separate us from God. Praise and worship is the cure.

Mrathel
Member

Amen

Cagedlife
Member

I love when God’s word smacks me right in the face with the answers I’m in need of. Cheers

Healey
Member

Awesome message, thank you for sharing your faith. I have found this to be true in my life, going through a divorce and then a couple of years later cancer. I learn to ask the question, “why not me?” instead of “why me”. If I can use it to draw closer to my Lord and Savior, then it will glorify Him. That is using your life to walk out your talk.

Debra
Guest

What an amazing message! Thank you for the helpful steps to remember when suffering. 💗

Paul
Member

Thank you for this devotion. It is what I needed to be reminded of to keep my eyes on Jesus. As my family and I are going though deaths and Finanical hard times.

Careermom
Member

Thank you, Wally. I’ve had a rough year and it’s truly brought me closer to God. I’ve had to cling to Jesus to make it through. He is good and faithful even when the times we are going through are not. I’d walk through those hard, painful times again to be as close as I have been to the Lord during those times!!!

Wayne
Member

You are right Wally and I dare say if we are truthful we can always find many, many things we have to be thankful for. After all if we are reading this we are alive. Yes we are alive because God has a plan for us and we should be thankful we have another day to fulfill that plan.Thanks again Wally.

Catherine Waters
Member

Laura Story’s song is one of my favorites. It always brings tears to my eyes, because it reminds me that through my tears God is there for me and growing me in some way. Great message Wally!

Jeanine Evans
Guest
Hi Wally, Yes, all of the suffering we experience is meant for us to become closer to God. Recently, my daughter has gone through a terrible abusive relationship with a boyfriend. Many times she left there and many times she went back. I knew that God would make something good out of something so horrible, but I have to say the last time she went back, I was mad.. no I mean mad! I was so angry at God for allowing that to happen after all that she had already gone through! I was mad at God and the world… Read more »
Turtlefrog52
Member

I really needed this today. I agree with Wally that our struggles are intended to make us stronger. I think back to a quote from the show LOST. “Struggle is nature’s way of strengthening it.” Otherwise, we like the moth used in the episode will be too weak to survive.
I also like how Wally pointed out that it’s okay to question God sometimes and that doing so doesn’t mean we are ‘bad believers’ but honest ones.

Veta Sheridan
Member

I read each day the devotional, but things keep getting worse. I know GOD loves me, but right now I can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel except for Heaven. The Hillary Scott song “thy wILL”fits me to a tee. Even though I never miscarried, it has meaning for everyone going through struggles.

Unathi
Member
Sometimes, things will get worse and worse. That’s the bad part. But the good part is that things WILL get better! It’s true. There’s a saying: If you’re going through hell, keep going!” It means, don’t stop there in that mess and make a camp and have a pity party. The only way out is THROUGH, so you’ve got to keep pressing on! God leads us THROUGH our struggles. He leads us THROUGH the dark times when we can’t see the way out. But learning to keep focused on Him and trust that HE is the way out will give… Read more »
Terri
Member

Amen. God has blessed you with much wisdom,Unathi. Thank you for sharing it.

Beema12
Member

Thank you Wally. A great reminder for me today and every day. God bless you!

vsroberts41
Member

Thank you for sharing.

damarysv
Member

Wow!! This touched my heart and my spirit. Praise Him!!

Rick Jones
Guest

The passage in today’s World’s Biggest Small Group from James 1 was one that comforted us and gave my wife and I great help and hope in our hour of trial. “Thank-you,” for the devotional reminder of “no pain no gain.”
With God’s blessings to you all,
Pastor Rick Jones

Debbie
Member

I have been going through something, where I fully believe God arranged it, but the outcome is not what I was expecting and it’s painful. Thank you for addressing this. I know God has a plan, but in my impatient self I want the answer yesterday.

Missy P
Member

When things are not what I expected them to be. I turn to Psalms 27, there I find confirmation and comfort.

God Bless

Ann
Member

Love this. Thanks Wally.

Kim
Member

Sometimes when there are no words, I just repeat over and over “I love you Lord.” I may start out in a more desperate cry, but I usually end in complete praise. Thanks for your words, Wally. Thanks for pointing us to the True Encourager.

Penny.Bullard
Member

Amen!

Amanda
Member

This is dead on! I’m currently facing chemotherapy while I wait for a stem cell donor match. I’m a wife, mother, and teacher. There have many moments of doubting God. But when I (literally ) cry out to Him, I always feel His peace. I’m learning through this to trust God. I thought I trusted Him before but I was wrong. My faith and relationship with God are growing and I’m thankful for the person He is helping me become through this. We must always find the blessings in the storm!

Loran
Member

Amanda, I’m so sorry to hear you are going through chemo. My son recently finished his. Today is one year since he was diagnosed, actually. It was hard going through it, but after it was over, it seemed like those months flew by! He had to have surgery on his leg and was in a wheelchair for several weeks, then a walker, then crutches before finally being able to walk again. It did happen though. And now he is doing fantastic! His hair is back, too! Praise God! Praying for you that you find a donor.

Unathi
Member
Amanda, you said that you thought you’d trusted God before but you were wrong. I think this is an example of moving “from glory to glory”. We have faith, but we grow in faith. We trust God, but we learn to trust Him more. If we don’t go through these growth phases, we become stagnant. Not a good place to be spiritually. I just thought of something: you don’t sharpen a knife by cutting through butter. A knife can be sharpened by running it specifically against a rock, or pulled between two hard surfaces(like a ceramic knife sharpener). People who… Read more »
Unathi
Member

Or, what I really mean is: God loves you and is with you! Hahahaha. I have a stupid auto correct. 😉

WAY-FM
WAY-FM

Amanda, praying for you!

Tim
Member

Grind Time!!! The struggle is real!! Tough times tests our faith, and is the very definition of the word!!

Denise
Member

Amen

Sally Patasky
Member

This is great, Wally! I need to save today’s reflection and read it EVERY day. For some reason when trials hit I always get confused and forget what God says about our trials.

Amanda Carter
Member

This was a great message. Thanks so much for sharing it.

Kimwo
Member
Wally thank you for that reminder that “God is for us!” My faith has definitely grown over the last 2 yrs! I’ve stuggled with depression for almost 10 yrs now. I’m finally at a really happy and healthy place and it’s all because I changed my focus! That has been the key for me and it has been unicorns and rainbows!lol;-) I pray that through our suffering we choose to live for God and choose to not to focus on our suffering but to see how it will bring glory to God. HE will and is always faithful!! God bless… Read more »
Sonia
Member

I’m going through some trials right now that I just don’t understand and I just took an hour to praise him. I grabbed a hymnal and just sang at the top of my lungs and although I don’t have answers, I have peace and I know that God has a plan. I just have to have faith and trust his plan is better.

WAY-FM
WAY-FM

Thanks for sharing that with us Sonia, it’s encouraging to hear. And we are praying for you!

taterin
Member

Thank you! Today’s message met me right where I was,…worried that if your story doesn’t end with happily ever after that it won’t be useful to God. As my marriage of 21 yrs is ending I have found that God alone is my rock and refuge. When I feel unloved I remember He thought I was worth dying for!

Ginaf1124
Member

This definitely hit home with me. I just went through a very bad divorce and now he is deceased. I just found out that he married the girl that he cheated with. I didn’t find out until after he died. But thank God he has gotten me through this.

Cali
Member
Good gracious… I find myself praying all the time. It gives me comfort that I can call on God all day every day. I never thought of the struggle this way. I can say that my husband and I have been together for close to 17 years, married 10 of them… this year has been the best year of our entire relationship. The struggles going on right now with him, have brought us closer. To realize that this is Gods plan.. I don’t always understand.. but I have to be thankful for it! God is so good! I pray that… Read more »
Angie
Member

It is hard to see past your moment of suffering. However, Once you have made it through their is a time of comfort that only comes from realizing you didn’t make anything happen it was all God.

Susan413
Member

When Jesus fell carrying the cross what did He do? He got up, again. Falling the 2nd time, what did He do then? He got back up. And when he fell, again? That is how I want to be! How I choose to be. Not that it’s going to be easy, but it can be done.
That when the cup of suffering does not pass, may He give us all the strength to drink fully and get back up.

Missy P
Member

Wally,
Sometimes it is hard to think positive or believe that something good could come out of suffering. Sometimes, I wonder if my suffering is punishment for something I did wrong in the past or even recently. Am I being punished for it? However, looking back, my suffering seems to elevate me to another level. The 23 Psalm reminds me of God’s goodness through all my life’s struggles.

Bless

lrussell24
Member

Amen!

Tparrott88
Member

So ironic the devotion this morning used THE SAME verse, this morning when I read it in my devotion I immidately said to myself, this is exactly what I needed to read today!

andrew pickett
Member

I think that is a perspective I’ve never thought of before, and one that everyone needs to know and think about. I would think that most of the believers that walk away from God are ones that went through hardships and blamed God for it and couldn’t get over it and realize that God was trying to strengthen their faith in Him

Bcliftonatc
Member

Thhank you Wally! Needed to hear this today.

SmilePyles
Member

Wow! Just what I needed today! Couldn’t have came at a more perfect day! Spoke to me word for word!

CSharp
Member

Thanks for the encouraging words. These words from James 1: 2-4, really helped me to persevere through tough times in my life.

pennyjbond
Member

I love this small group and readong the different perspectives!

Olawale
Member

I will praise in the storm.

bnsears59
Member

Thank you for this Wally…it really puts pain and trials into perspective. As a Church leader, I am often asked by others about why things are happening. I’m sure I will refer to this post and the others during this WBSG series to help explain. Like you said, God is FOR US and will be there every step of the way.

Brian
Member

Well said Wally. Amen!

daliasecin
Member

I have learned lately, as my parents face difficult times, that I have never been so close to God. It is absolutely true that when we do not have a reason to pray for, we grow distant from God, and even forget to read the Bible. Even though I do not know how to thank God for the hard times I am going through right now, I am praying more and praising Him more.

jeffl
Member

My wife just found out she has to have a biopsy next week. I have a hard time comprehending ‘great’ joy. But I can relate to endurance.

Kim Ward
Guest

Thank You, Wally!
So hard to not take control when we face trials, not matter how many times we have been told or have told others that God has the situation. Thanks for reminding us to stay focused on the final goal of becoming more and more like our Savior!

Moni
Member

WOW!! Very beautifully written! Thank-you so much! The reminder was so needed! God Bless!

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