My friends, I want you to know what a hard time we had in Asia. Our sufferings were so horrible and so unbearable that death seemed certain. In fact, we felt sure that we were going to die. But this made us stop trusting in ourselves and start trusting God, who raises the dead to life. God saved us from the threat of death, Please help us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks for the blessings we receive in answer to all these prayers. and we are sure that he will do it again and again.
When life is smooth and things are going good it is so easy to forget God. Why should we seek Him out when we have everything in front of us. Finances are flowing in, family and friends around to keep us company and we feel loved and our health does not even cross our mind. It is when these things are stripped away from us that our floor drops out from under our feet and we find ourselves falling and suffering. It is during these times that we realize we need more than just our self or family and friends, money or food. None of these things can provide us the comfort we need it is then that we seek out God or He reaches us by seeking us out that we can find the all surpassing comfort we need.
If our lives were so smooth that we never had any troubles we would never search God out. God uses these problems to reach and shape us into the people He wants us to be. It is when we turn away from self and focus on Him that things become better. He may not restore the materialistic things to us or even our health back but He will give us a all surpassing comfort that goes beyond understanding and He shapes us into the person He wants us to be to serve Him and others who maybe need to learn from the experiences we have gone through.
I have found that during these times of pain and sorrow I will turn to God for comfort and answers but I noticed that as soon a things are moving along smoothly I tend to stop focusing on Him and go back to life as it was. Then trouble comes back in and I look to Him again. This is not what God wants of us, He wants us to keep Him in the center of our lives praising and glorifying Him in good times and in bad. He wants us to take our focus off of self and put it on Him because it is in Him that we find our greatest pleasure.
I have heard stories of people suffering in prison for their faith. They are being beaten and tortured but their faith in God increases. The Holy Spirit comes in and fills the deep need they have inside even through they are physically suffering, I want the Holy Spirit to fill me like this and the only way this can happen is by rejoicing in Him in all circumstances, taking our focus off of self and turning it on to God. Brother Yun author of 'The Heavenly Man' is one such story of faith and obedience to Jesus Christ, being empowered by the Holy Spirit through prayer from himself and family and friends who covered him during trial and persecution.
Nobody likes trouble to come but it will come to all of us at one point in time or another. When it does come don't look inward but upward towards God and keep your eyes on Him who sent us the comforter to be with us empowering us with His Spirit, praying in all circumstances and singing praises to Him who created all.
Jesus thank you for giving us hope! For showing us a path when there is trouble all around us. Brother, I want to be like You so please forgive me when I have not looked to You during the good times in my life. You are my center and I want to revolve around You. Praise Your Holy Name!! Jesus Christ, in You I ask and pray. Amen.