Although it can be easy for Christians to doubt God's word when going through times of extreme pain, they need to remember that God suffers with us and will not allow our hurt to happen in vain, Pastor Miles McPherson says.
McPherson, who heads The Rock Church in San Diego, California, preached this message in his recent "I Doubt It" series, which focuses on how to stay confident in God's word in times of struggle.
How do we as Christians prevent ourselves from doubting God when going through extreme suffering? McPherson asks his congregation.
The first step is knowing that because the son of God died on the cross for our sins, he "suffered for you, he suffered as you, and he suffered with you."
Keeping this truth in mind when you are going through times of struggle allows you to know that God "feels what you feel," as he too has experienced suffering.
McPherson points specifically to Luke 22:42, in which Jesus is aware that he will go through extreme pain on the cross, and asks God if there is another way to save mankind without experiencing such suffering.
"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done," Jesus says.
God experienced the most ultimate pains when his only son died on the cross, yet it was something that had to be done, and despite the pain, God did not abandon humankind or Jesus.
Similarly, although Jesus was aware of the pain he would experience, he went through it anyway because it was according to God's will.
In a similar way, although every single human experiences pain, God will never fully abandon us or give us something we cannot ultimately get through.
Although we live in a fallen world, God has said to us, just as he said to his son, "I will never let you be bothered, I will never let you be burdened, with anything I can't get you through," McPherson says.
McPherson also points to Romans 8:16-17 as evidence that all of the sacrifice we encounter with God on our side will ultimately translate into glory in the end.
"The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory," the verses read.
This passage shows us that because we are all children of God, as long as we can persevere through our suffering, our pain will not happen in vain. Instead, God will in the end turn all of our pain into glory.
The key to this verse, McPherson explains, is persevering through the suffering we encounter.
In conclusion, when enduring times of suffering, Christians can look to these two Bible passages to know that just as they suffer, so God suffered, and in the end, once they do persevere through difficult times, their suffering will be transformed into glory.