Conflicts are an unavoidable part of life. We will always encounter conflicts in relationships. At work. Home. With our kids. Our family and friends. Even in Church.
Some conflicts simply aren’t worth fighting (drama) and need to be avoided for the sake of pursuing peace. That’s me, I’ll avoid conflict and confrontation at any cost.
Drama comes from the devil!
The apostle Paul urges us in Ephesians 4:3 (NLT) to, “Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”
Sometimes avoiding conflicts doesn’t always mean that we have handled it in a healthy way. We may be trying to escape a conflict that we can’t avoid.
Confrontation is never easy to do. But sometimes necessary in order to address a problem. The way we confront a person with a concern or issue, makes all the difference.
Proverbs 15:1 (NLT) tells us that “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.”
Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing. ~ Proverbs 12:18 (NLT)
Wrestling with Our Struggles
What do you do when you face struggles that you can’t avoid? Something that is out of your control.
Maybe the disagreements, disputes and unresolved differences in your marriage that affect the intimacy of your relationship with your spouse?
Or perhaps, the disappointment of a prayer that has gone unanswered for a long time. The diagnosis of a terminal illness. Loss of a loved one. Loss of a job. A divorce. Dealing with a wayward child. A tragic accident. And so many other unexpected life events that take us by surprise.
How do you wrestle with your faith in God, when you’ve been blindsided by some difficult circumstances in your life that have left you shattered and disillusioned because your life is nothing like you had hoped or expected? It just doesn’t add up or make any sense at all.
How do you reconcile the contradictions in your life that make you wonder how a Good God would allow you to go through such pain and suffering? Or question why He allows bad things to happen to good people?
Wrestling with Our Faith and Our Feelings
How do we wrestle with our feelings and our faith in God in spite of our challenges and the struggles we face?
Our pain and disappointments can make us begin to quietly;
• Question God’s timing
• Wonder why He delays intervening in our circumstances or
• Doubt His promises for us, even though we don’t say any of these out loud.
The enemy uses our pain and suffering to isolate us because that’s his great opportunity to introduce suggestions, ideas and questions in our minds that slowly fester into doubt and unbelief in God’s power, promises, trustworthiness and faithfulness.
But make no mistake about it, though we live in a broken world, God will never forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). He never leaves us alone in our pain.
Psalm 34:18 (NLT) says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”
Psalm 23:4 (NLT) says, “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”
Our struggles don’t mean that God is withholding good things from us, sometimes it’s His way of leading us to Him.
So, what if our disappointments are divine appointments for us to encounter God in ways that we would never have before?
Here’s the truth; the challenges, uncertainties, pain, questions and disappointments that we wrestle with everyday are truly opportunities for God to do something much greater than we would have expected.
God’s plans for us are always for good and not evil (Jeremiah 29:11) and if we want His promises then we must trust His process.
His timing may not be the same as ours, but His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:11).
The Purpose for Our Pain
God doesn’t leave us alone in our pain. He is present with us in our suffering. In fact, if anyone understands our struggles, it’s Jesus who in his humanity suffered greatly.
He endured betrayal, was deserted by his followers, experienced gruesome physical pain from the crucifixion and felt forsaken by His Heavenly Father when he hung on the cross (Mark 14:46-50).
That’s why Hebrews 4:15 says that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet he did not sin.”
Jesus offers grace for our weaknesses, comfort for our pain, healing from our past hurts and hope for the future.
Romans 5:3-5 (NLT) says, “We can rejoice too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”
God may allow us to go through some challenges, but His goodness will never change and our hope in Him will never lead to disappointment.
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Susan Egbe-Tanyi, MD is a board-certified family medicine physician. She is also the founder of Empowered Women Faith Club, where she writes to empower women to live confidently knowing who they are as daughters of God and encourages weary moms to find strength in God through the journey of motherhood. She is a wife, mother of three treasured kids, a passionate follower of Christ, lover of nature and a servant at heart. She practices medicine in North Carolina, where she lives with her husband and three children.