Trials and suffering are part of this life. Read or listen to the Introduction of Enduring Trials God’s Way if you want to learn the Bible verses on suffering and trials.
Table of contents
The text in this post is from Enduring Trials God’s Way: A Biblical Recipe for Finding Joy in Suffering, and the audio is from the accompanying audiobook. I am praying God uses the book and audiobook to strengthen your faith and exalt Christ!
My wife, Katie, and I grew up together in northern California. We lost touch after high school and then reconnected almost ten years later. At the time, Katie was living in our hometown of McArthur, California, but I was seven hours south in Lemoore, California. Some wonderful friends of mine, Pat and Kathy Mundy, graciously invited Katie to live with them so we could be near each other, even though they did not know her yet. The four of us became close. They performed our pre-marital counseling and made the trip north for our wedding. Seven years ago, Katie and I moved from Lemoore to Woodland, Washington. Although the distance changed our relationship with Pat and Kathy, we remained friends.
Pat and Kathy Mundy’s Trials and Suffering
A few years ago, Pat retired from the police department, and he and Kathy looked forward to investing in their grandkids, traveling, and serving in the church. Then everything changed. Kathy got sick, and a hospital visit revealed an aggressive form of cancer. The “golden years” have been filled with trials and suffering: doctor appointments and multiple rounds of chemotherapy. Nothing slowed the disease, and in a last attempt, they moved to Seattle for an experimental treatment. A few weeks ago, on their way north, they surprised us and stopped by our house to visit.
Their Concern for…Us?
I felt privileged to see them at this time in their lives. As soon as we got them sitting in our living room, I wanted to hear everything they felt comfortable sharing about their trial, but the first thing they said was, “How is your dad’s Alzheimer’s?” Despite what they were experiencing, they “[esteemed] others better than [themselves]” (Philippians 2:3). Throughout the conversation, they gave little indication they were experiencing such difficult trials and suffering. As we talked, they discussed their blessings far more than they discussed any amount of suffering. Repeatedly, they shared how good God was being to them.
Reflecting on that conversation, I have asked myself: “Why did they not question (or criticize) God? How could they be so thankful during such a difficult trial? Why did they respond this way when their circumstances would devastate many other people? Could I respond this way if I experienced something similar?” Only time can provide an answer to the last question. The other questions I hope to answer in the following chapters.
Why Should You Trust Me?
Is there any reason you should trust my answers? No, and I am not asking you to do so. This book is not a collection of my thoughts about trials. Rather, I am inviting you to trust the Bible. Enduring Trials God’s Way came from several sermons I preached, and I labored over each one for twenty to thirty hours per week. God knows what is necessary for people to find joy in suffering, and I hope to present the recipe for that in the following chapters.
As a pastor, I watch firsthand as people suffer through trials. Woodland Christian Church maintains a prayer list, and it seems as soon as we can remove one request, another is added. We have prayed about medical issues, job losses, deaths of family members, and the examples could go on.
Some of Our Trials and Suffering
My family has not been immune to trials and suffering. There are all the difficulties associated with ministry. This past year: my sister-in-law, who lives with her family next door to us, experienced two massive heart attacks. Katie and I experienced our third miscarriage. My dad, John LaPierre, who lived with my mom up the street from us, went through radiation and chemotherapy (and that is besides his Alzheimer’s). Not long after, my mom called me terrified, begging me to rush to their house. Dad was unconscious on the floor and not breathing. I delivered CPR until the paramedics arrived, but they were unable to revive him.
Trials and suffering are inevitable on this side of heaven as we will see as we begin chapter 1. My prayer has been that I can give you the encouragement from God’s Word that He wants you to have when you experience them!