Sometimes the Lord is slow to come to the aid of his people, at least as we think of slow. Sometimes, we want God to come to us in our time of need—right now. We don’t want to wait, we don’t want to suffer, we don’t want to feel sorrow. But God does not count slowness like we count slowness. God loves his children, is not taking his time, rather he is right on time. He is not off somewhere playing with his other children, he is in it with us, knowing what we know, experiencing what we experience, and feeling what we feel.
When we receive what God has for us with open hands, with joyful hearts, and with grateful minds, he renews our strength and gives us grace. Even in the worst of times, God comes to us, and calls us not only suffer, but to rejoice in our sufferings. The Apostle Paul told us, in response to his thorn in the flesh, not only did he accept it from the hand of God, he gladly boasted in his infirmities, and he took pleasure in his suffering. Along these same lines, James tells us to consider it all joy when we encounter various trials.
There is more to our lives than what we know and understand. Paul said that he thought of his suffering the way he did because God told him that His Grace was sufficient for his need. God knew Paul was suffering. God knew that Paul was in pain. And God refused to take it away because Paul needed to know that God’s strength is made perfect in Paul’s suffering. Paul said that boasting in his infirmities showed that the power of Christ was resting on him. He took pleasure in his “infirmities, reproaches, needs, persecutions, and distresses” in the name of Christ because when he was weak, Christ was strong.
The Westminster Shorter catechism says that the chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. Suffering, pain, trials, and sorrows are given to us for God’s glory, because when we are weak, and we turn to God and are grateful for what he has given us, he is strong and receives glory.