Embracing a Season of Suffering

by John O’Malley

In recent months, God chose for Kim and me a season which required us to set aside every plan we had to assist Kim’s mom.

Kim’s mother’s had eight surgeries in a matter of weeks to help her overcome a two-inch (five centimeters) tear resulting from a complication from outpatient surgery.

We learned lessons during this season as Kim’s mom hovered at death’s door for many days during her sixty-five days in the hospital.

When going through a difficult time, it is easy to ask questions above our pay grade. We ask God, why? Why them? Why us? Why now? Why here?

I believe asking God is okay; doubting God is not okay.

We are prone to make lists to rehearse with God the credentials of the one suffering. We do so as our objection or protest to what is happening.

Internally, we recite our concerns, rehearse our worries, and desperately ask, “God, what are You doing?” We give God our questions asking why this season of suffering came. We tell God why it should not be the one He chose for this season of suffering. Our fears inform us this suffering is not just. Our faith tells us God is always working His will.

Perhaps during the initial moments of suffering, we are reconciling our will to His will about a new season in our lives and the life of the one suffering.

Solomon, gave his heart to search out wisdom in all which takes place under heaven and to discover the sore travail God gives to men, said: “To every thing, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

A season is an appointed time for something to occur. God has appointed times or seasons for us to live through for His glory.

When seasons come, God has lessons to learn for the individual suffering. God gives suffering to those who are strong enough to bear it.  (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Because one suffers, it does not mean the one suffering made sinful choices. Job was a perfect man who feared God and abstained from evil. Yet, God chose a seasoning of suffering for Job.

When suffering comes, nobody suffers alone. The suffering’s caregivers, prayer partners, and healthcare partners can observe and learn about God in this season of suffering.

As the son-in-law of the suffering one in our family, God gave me an observation post to this season of suffering. Below are thoughts I learned in this season of suffering.

Seasons of suffering are:

          • for learning about God’s purpose. (Eccl 3:1-11)
          • for observing God’s hand and heart. (2 Chron 16:9)
          • for listening to God’s word. (Psalm 119:71)
          • for meditation and comfort. (Psalm 94:19)
          • for a greater plan. (Gen. 50:20)
          • not just for the one going through the most challenging times. (James 5:10-11)
          • for revealing friendships. (Gal. 6:2; 2 Cor. 1:7)
          • for reminding you of His presence. (Heb. 13:5)
          • for sensing God’s comfort. (2 Cor. 1:4)
          • for preparing me for the next season to comfort others. (2 Cor. 1:4)

We are better when we learn to embrace the season in which He’s placed us. In your season of suffering, whether as the participant or the observer of the suffering, keep listening; keep learning; keep trusting.

Perhaps you know someone who is in their season of suffering. I encourage you to assure the suffering you prayed for them. Remind those who suffer. You are there if they need you.

It is okay if the suffering does not ask you for any help. They know you will help when a specific need arises. Give them space in their suffering and grace when they are silent.

On behalf of Kim’s family, thank you for being here during this season of suffering. As we embrace this season of suffering, your love, thoughts, and prayers comfort us.

Thank you.

Yours for the harvest,
John O’Malley

If this article has been an encouragement to you, you can email Bro. O’Malley here to let him know.