Lori M. Robinson

Suffering can ‘strengthen faith, increases resilience’

Published Nov 4, 2017 at 4:00pm

1 Chronicles 4:10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel “oh that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.

Bruce Wilkerson has written a marvelous little book about having extraordinary faith in an extraordinary and miraculous God, in whom we would root total confidence rather than in our own strength.

And while it is important to enlarge life to in turn enlarge effectiveness in the world, I think he misses a point that Charles Spurgeon speaks to in a sermon on the Prayer of Jabez in the 19th century.

Spurgeon speaks to the fact that the best is not necessarily what we human beings might see initially as a blessing. It is in great suffering that we are able to increase, provide blessings in our territory.

Yes, we can do more caregiving if our territory is bigger, but we do better caregiving out of our suffering.

Indeed Jabez’s mother named him so out of a painful and difficult birth. Pain and delay, pruning, sorrow, tragedy strengthens faith, increases our resilience, and creates a depth of character and agape love in us. It grows grit, a characteristic required to do life and embrace change.Goodness knows we need grit in this world!

Grittiness is required if you are convicted to move out in faith, to minister to the world. Have you been convicted to do something for the kingdom, but struggled to know if it was the Holy Spirit? Often we ignore this because it seems too difficult, way too taxing to step out in faith and act.

So often I procrastinate by pondering if it is my idea, or the Lord’s. I admit that I do not feel up the hard work of being refined either.

I must remind myself that if I have been asked to do something by the Lord for His good purpose then it will most assuredly be something that I cannot possibly do on my own accord.

Do you know how you hear from God? If not I highly recommend delving into that area. Believe me when you pay attention you will find that you have no choice to rely on Him, and it will blow you away much like God’s routing of the Assyrian’s did.

Did it increase Gideon’s grit, faith, compassion,and trust in God? I suspect so.

It feels like we are at a tipping point in our world. We have growing pains and change to contend with. We look forward rather than back. We strive to minister to the world, and increase our territory...the reconciliation of souls to their Creator.

Increase our territory Creator that we might use our suffering to provide hope and healing, and grow ourselves in wisdom and stature. Amen