Peace family, when you endure a painful trial and some well-meaning person says, “Don’t worry, God is just preparing you for the future,” does it make you feel even worse? It has made me feel scared and hopeless before. I would think, “Good grief! What even more horrible thing will happen to me next?”
I just want to encourage you that although God does use our suffering for a greater purpose (see Romans 8:28), it doesn’t mean that we’re enduring it specifically to prepare for something worse ahead. God’s heart is not cruel; the Bible equates him to a good father who will not give his children a stone when they ask for bread, or a snake when they ask for a fish.
God can use your pain to refine you and teach you skills that will help you deal with hardship down the road, but his heart is to comfort you, and to teach you how to comfort others. The Bible says God “comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God”( II Corinthians 2:4 , ESV.) I know God has used several sources of grief in my own life, as well as other people’s good and bad attempts to comfort me, to teach me how to help others repair, and also to repair past wounds in my own life.
God never says the pain is preparing you for worse things in the future. Instead, he says not to be afraid because he will be with us. God says “do not fear,” 80 or so times in the Bible. Meanwhile, Jesus himself said, ” In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NIV)
So what do we know? We know that: 1) At some point in life, we will suffer, but 2) God will be there with us and for us when we do.
Anyway, just a few thoughts from your friendly, neighborhood Kat.