For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
2 Corinthians 4:17 (NIV)
Tell many atheist and some agnostics you believe in God and almost immediately they will respond with denial, not sure of Godís existence followed by problems with God not saving them from evil, pain and suffering. A strong student of Christianity will look up, see promise, and stand up straight looking forward to their education. A weak student Christian, or one who does not have much in the way of faith, will look for shortcuts, cheat and blame God for their pain, suffering, and losses. Sometimes they never recover becoming an atheist or agnostic for life.
Pain and suffering (affliction) is the school that lasts a lifetime. It is a lifelong education that no one ever graduates until he/she moves across the stage into their new life of happiness and peace or unspeakable pain and suffering. Every person, therefore, is a student. The coursework one has varies from individual to individual, but each person has their individual list of pass-fail classes.
Pain, suffering, tears are in examinations everyone will take regardless of how much intellect, wealth, power or lack of these things one possesses. No school does more for us, if one is a willing and faithful learner. In every instance of pain, regardless of its intensity, can be a lesson that develops character, patience and faith that strengthens and fortifies one for disappointments, failures and hurt that is sure to come whether we like it or not. The weak with little or no faith will cave. The strong will carry on with a smile richer for the experience. Their riches may be increased may be increased earthly wealth, more happiness or a new challenge but it does not matter to the strong. The weak covet what the strong has not recognizing nor concern with the cost the strong may have passed through. The weak will never notice blessings from God. They want worldly things and gifts.
For the strong, their loss is a gain. They know God is there no matter the circumstance or situation. Their wisdom multiplies excited for the next adventure. The weak, their loss is a loss. There is no fertile ground for which to grow. Only the stones of denial, rejection and more pain inhabit their landscape and a fear of graduation.
Now, these are the personal questions: What type of Christian are you? Which of the two schools do you attend?
Thank you, Lord, for being here for me and allowing me to cry out to you in my times of pain, suffering and need. It is amazing to me that the Lord of the Universe would take time to listen to me and to care about what I say. God, there are things happening around and to me right now that I do not understand. Some of these things make me feel weak, helpless and afraid. Even during times such as these, I know that you are Lord. I know that the situation is in Your hand, and I trust You. I ask you for strength and for wisdom that I would be able to endure this situation and be able to handle it in a way that would bring glory to Your name. In Jesusí name I pray. Amen.