Discernment is a powerful tool God uses to draw us to himself. David discerned that the famine in the land was God’s way of judging Israel. David inquired of the Lord and he was given insight on what to do so that the famine would be lifted.
God didn’t create life to be pain-free. Suffering is a part of our existence. Nevertheless, if we are suffering, we should go to God for insight and direction. Remember the Apostle Paul? He had a “thorn in the flesh” and he sought God on several occasions asking God to remove it. When God didn’t remove the thorn, he discerned that God was working through this challenge to bring himself glory. Job is a great example of someone who suffered greatly; yet, he cried out to God for understanding and God gave him discernment to see how he was working in the midst of the trials.
Teach your kids the proper response to suffering. God is always developing a bigger picture that is often hard for us to see. When my dad divorced my mom and moved out of our house, I was devastated. I was a young boy and my dad was like superman to me. I didn’t understand and was confused about why he would leave us. Since the divorce, my dad and I have reconciled and have a good relationship and he is repentant for ever divorcing my mom. Some years later as an adult, God gave me discernment to understand how not having a dad around all the time drove me to Father God much more than many of my other friends. It’s as if God said,“Since you don’t have an earthly dad in your home, I am going to show you how to relate to me as a Father.” Wow, that was an awesome revelation!
In addition to this revelation, God gave me surrogate fathers that taught me about fathering, how to study the bible, how to work on my car and so forth. While I missed a close relationship with my dad, I had the joy and the benefit of other dads reaching out to me. I would never wish my situation on any young boy, but through God’s grace I was able to reap good benefits from the situation. Suffering and trials should cause us to pursue the Lord. If your child is sick with a simple fever or a life long handicap, turn to the Lord and cry out to him for discernment. God may reveal the reason for the situation or he may not.
The point is, that in pursuing God you discover who God is, his character and his greatness. That is why we read the Bible- not to just learn a bunch of history about God dealing with his people, but to know God, the author of the Bible. Suffering should lead us to the Creator for answers, but also for comfort and grace. Sometimes our suffering is due to our own ignorance. I have prayed for many people desiring God to heal their body. There have been a few times I stopped praying for them and asked them about their eating habits. Could it be that someone who is suffering in their physical body might be suffering because of poor habits (smoking, eating junk food, lack of exercise etc..)? Of course this is not always the truth, but discernment is needed to understand the root issues. Don’t let your kids grow up thinking suffering is always a bad or wrong thing. Suffering can be beneficial to your soul if you discern the Lord’s will in the midst of the suffering.