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Temptation/Troubles and Suffering

“Many think that pain is the exception in the Christian life. When suffering occurs, they say,"why me?” They feel as though God deserted them, or perhaps they accuse Him of not being dependable as they thought. In reality, however, we live in an evil world filled with suffering, even for believers. But God is still in control.” (Life Application Study Bible, Hebrew 11:35-39)"Temptation comes from evil desires within us, not from God. It begins with evil though and becomes sin when we dwell on the thought and allow it to become action. Like a snowball rolling downhill, sin grows more destructive the more we let it have its way. The best time to stop a temptation is before it is too strong or moving too fast to control.” (Life Application Study Bible, James 1:12-15)

“Who has not faltered? Who has not taken a wrong step, or let pain or trouble steal our peace in Christ?...determine to reject temptations, for they often come in swarms to shake us from the truth of the Gospel; but the outcome in temptation lies within us…Pray to resist when drawn toward actions or offers that oppose our saving Lord and His strengthening truth.” (Dynamis 11/12/2012)

“You may say that no temptation is ever overcome until we stop trying to overcome it—throw up the sponge. But then you could not"stop trying” in the right way and for the right reason until you had tried your very hardest. And, in yet another sense, handing everything over to Christ does not, of course, mean that you stop trying. To trust Him means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way” (C.S. Lewis)

“The key to lived purity is interior purity.” (Dynamis 11/14/2012)

“In the world you will have tribulation…” (Christ, John 16:33)

“Following Christ does not mean a trouble free life.” (Life Application Study Bible, Luke 14:28-30)

“Jesus said many times in many different ways that in this world we will face trouble but don’t worry…Admittedly, this can be very difficult sometimes but prayer helps us know and accept this truth with a peace of heart and mind.” (Sacramental Living)

“Some people say that troubles are the result of sin or lack of faith, but St. Paul teaches that they may be part of God’s plan for believers. Our problems can help us look upward and forward, instead of inward, they can build strong character and they can provide us with opportunities to comfort others who are struggling.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Thessalonians 1:5)

“We may suffer for many reasons. Some suffering is the direct result of our own sin; some happens because of our foolishness; some is the result of living in a fallen world…[some] suffering comes as a result of doing good…Our goal should be to face suffering as He [Christ] did – with patience, calmness, and confidence that God is in control of the future.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Peter 2:21,22)

“We may resist a temptation at first because we know that we should and because wiser souls have told us what could happen if we do not. But then it begins to look attractive, and we start to want it. Sense and nonsense switch places in our mind, and we begin to think the opposite of what we were taught. It may be a while before we realize who told the truth and who the lie, and what we thought was solely an act of our own will was actually the press of another upon ours.” (Anne Marie Gazzolo)

“Such is the way with temptation. We resist with no problem one moment and give in the next” (Anne Marie Gazzolo)

“I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much” (Mother Teresa)

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our consciences, but shouts in our pains/” (C.S. Lewis)

“It is only because of our problems that we grow mentally and spiritually.” (M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled)

“Even those who are especially close to God…have moments when they want to escape their problems and pressures.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalm 55:6-8)

“God wants us to give or burdens to Him, but we often continue to bear them ourselves even when we say we are trusting in Him. Trust the same strength that sustains you to carry your cares also.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalm 55:22)

“Sometimes our sense of rugged individualism, self-reliance, or even being intellectually gifted really works against us when it comes to faith.” (Sacramental Living)

“Trials, the world’s oppression, take place by God’s permission [though He is not the cause]. This issue is not trials but our response to them.” (Orthodox Study Bible, James 1:2)

“The point is not to be happy when we face pain but to have a positive outlook…because of what troubles can produce in our life…Tough times can teach us perseverance…Instead of complaining about our struggles, we should see them as opportunities for growth…God will not leave you alone with your problems” (Life Application Study Bible, James 1:2, 3)

“We can’t really know the depth of our character until we see how we react under pressure. It’s easy to be kind to others when everything is going well, but can we still be kind when others are treating us unfairly.” (Life Application Study Bible, James 1:2,3)

“Each person must take up his/her own"cross.” The burden in this world is different for each person, and each has been chosen by God to bear certain struggles for their salvation and the salvation of those around them…Commitment to following Christ is not just a one-time event…it is the continual practice of faith and obedience…” (Orthodox Study Bible, Luke 9:23)"We should never lose sight that God’s love and grace are always available to us, though sometimes we have to go through struggles.” (Sacramental Living)

“Jesus said we must"die to self.” He means we must die to sin and self-will and then we will find our true selves as God uniquely created us to be. Dying to self is both daily work and the work of a lifetime and often involves hardship and struggle as we slowly chip away at our ego.” (Sacramental Living)

“Waiting for God to help us is not always easy…When caught in the storms of life, it is easy to think that God has lost control and we’re at the mercy of the winds of fate…Often blessings cannot be received unless we go through a trial of waiting.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalm 40:1-3, Luke 8:23-25)

“Every challenge we face, sickness in ourselves or loved ones included, is an opportunity for our growth. This does not mean God causes sickness, it does mean that it is a chance for all of us to invite God into our lives and move toward Him.” (Sacramental Living)

“God can use us in any circumstance to do His will. Even as we pray for a change in our circumstance, we should also pray that God will accomplish His plan through us right where we are.” (Life Application Study Bible, Ephesians 6:19, 20)

“When life is calm our foundations don’t seem to matter. But when crisis comes, our foundations are tested.” (Life Application Study Bible, Luke 6:46-49)

“God calls us to commitment, not to comfort. He promises to be with us through suffering and hardship, not to spare us from them.” (Life Application Study Bible, Acts 9:15, 16)

“At points in our lives we all ask ourselves or someone asks us"why do bad things happen to good people?” …The understanding and acceptance of the answer to this question is often the"make or break" decision point for many of us as to believe in God as a loving God or a harsh God, or to believe in Him at all.” (Sacramental Living)

“God can handle our doubts and He welcomes our questions…Only as you face your doubts honestly can you begin to resolve them.” (Life Application Study Bible, Luke 7:18-23)

“In Christianity we are taught sin is a condition of the world and the cause of human suffering. We are also taught Christ defeated sin and redeemed suffering through the cross and now our suffering can be transformative. Many of us reject this because it is not the answer we want to the condition of evil and suffering. Who would want this answer? Who wants to suffer or see someone suffer? Most of us want a world without pain…but at the same time, we need to be careful of not falling into the mental trap of thinking reality should work according to our will. There is something bigger going on and we find greater peace in accepting our part and limitations as we strive to be as loving and good as possible in Christ.” (Sacramental Living)"God doesn’t promise to eliminate challenges; instead, He promised to give us strength to meet those challenges. If He gave us no rough roads to walk, no mountains to climb, and no battles to fight, we would not grow.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalm 18:32-34)

“… everything in nature requires friction to bring about change - a moth to a butterfly, a match and surface to bring about fire - the examples are endless. We human beings require friction as well. …. Yet why is friction actually good? Friction is good as long as we understand it in the context of spiritual struggle and growth…So we need to make a commitment in our heart to stick with our struggle.” (Sacramental Living)

“We may not like it, we may want a God who is more like a Grandfather than a father ,who will gather us together at the end of time and say"and a good time was had by all.” (C.S. Lewis) But it doesn't work that way. Christianity never, ever promises otherwise. It does promise growth and comfort during struggle and suffering because Christ transformed suffering on the cross and made it a means for our personal growth…. Every challenge we face, sickness in ourselves or loved ones included, is an opportunity for our growth.” (Sacramental Living)

“Our suffering can make us much more sensitive to the servants of God [others]. People who have known pain are able to reach out with compassion to others who hurt. If you have suffered ask God how your experience can be used to help others.” (Life Application Study Bible, Hebrews 2:10)

“Our perfection requires a growth that is manifested in suffering.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Hebrews 2:10-11)

“Let us recognize that a large fraction of suffering and that of our fellow human beings is brought about by what we do to one another. It is humankind, not God, that has invented knives, arrows, guns, bombs and all manner of other instruments or torture through the ages. The tragedy of a young child killed by a drunk driver, the innocent man dying on the battlefield, or a young girl cut down by a stray bullet in a crime-ridden section of a modern city can hardly be blamed on God. After all, we have somehow been given free will, the ability to do as we please. We use this ability frequently to disobey Moral Law. And when we do so, we shouldn’t then blame God for the consequences.” (Francis S. Collins, The Language of God)

“The bottom line is that suffering such as terrible sickness or near death experiences of ourselves or our loved ones, has been transformed into something that can be a gift in the sense that it awakens or reawakens us to God who is always reaching out to each one of us. That is why after tragedy or near tragedy you may observe people going to Church or starting to ask questions about faith. For some, this becomes a permanent commitment to God while for others it only lasts until the horror of the terrible experience fades. Either way, the reaction points to the truth of our need for God whether we know it or not.” (Sacramental Living)

“If we only want God’s comforting messages, we may miss what He has for us. Listen whenever God speaks, even when the message is hard to take.” (Life Application Study Bible, Micah 2:6,7)

"It takes intense heat to purify gold and silver. Similarly, it often takes the heat of trials for the Christian to be purified. Through trials, God shows us what is in us and clears out anything that gets in the way of complete trust in Him…So when tough times come your way, realize that God wants to use them to refine your faith and purify your heart.” (Life Application Study Bible, Proverbs 17:3)

“Just as fire refines ore to extract precious metals, God refines us through difficult circumstances. When we are tested, we can complain, or we can see how God is stretching us to develop our character.” (Life Application Study Bible, Genesis 22:1)

“During the life of the Christian there are hours of inconsolable sorrow and sickness, when it seems that the Lord has completely abandoned and forsaken him, for there is not the least feeling of God’s presence in the soul. Such are the hours in which faith, hope, love and patience of the Christian are tried. But better times will soon come to him. Soon the Lord will turn him again to joy, so let him not fall when tempted in this way." (St. John of Kronstadt)

“The purpose of testing is to strengthen our character and deepen our commitment to God in His perfect timing.” (Life Application Study Bible, Genesis 22:7.8)

"...despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt." (J.R.R Tolkien)

“In our gloom and despair, we feel that our sorrows and troubles will never end. But we can take comfort in this certainty: Although the Lord may not always spare us from troubles, if we follow Him wholeheartedly, He will lead us safely through them.” (Life Application Study Bible, Isaiah 9:1)

“Even the strongest people get tired at times, but God’s power and strength never diminish. He is never too tired or too busy to help and listen. His strength is our source of strength. When you feel all of life crushing you and you cannot go another step, remember, that you can call upon God to renew your strength.” (Life Application Study Bible, Isaiah 40:29-31)

“Never entertain any thoughts from the enemy that the Lord does not know what is going on in our lives. Our gracious God is wholly aware, even if it does not seem as if He knows or is present.” (Dynamis 4/6/2013)

“When you fear what lies ahead, remember that God will stay with you through difficult times and He has promised you great blessings.” (Life Application Study Bible, Genesis 15:1)

“…God’s works are not always clear to us while they are unfolding. But in hindsight His purpose often becomes clear.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Acts 12:9-11)

“The seeds of comfort may take root in the soil of adversity. When your life seems to be falling apart, ask God to comfort you. You many not escape adversity, but you may find God’s comfort as you face it.” (Life Application Study Bible, Isaiah 40:1,2)

“Christ urges us to remain encouraged, even in the midst of trials and afflictions that seem overwhelming and impossible.” (Dynamis 4/15/2013)

“God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain.” (C.S. Lewis)

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?.... For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Jesus Christ)

“We [often] worry about details over which we have no control, while neglecting areas (such as attitudes, relationships, responsibilities) that are under our control.” (Life Application Study Bible, Genesis 7:16)

“Our troubles can be helpful because (1) humble us, (2) wean us from the allurements of the world and drive us back to God, (3) vitalize our prayers, (4) allow us to experience more of God’s faithfulness, (5) make us more dependent upon God, (6) encourage us to submit to God’s purpose for our lives, and (7) make us more compassionate toward others in trouble.” (Life Application Study Bible Psalms 106:40-42)

“The worst situations in life are opportunities to discover the true Source of comfort …If we will learn to look for God’s activity in life’s disasters, we discover that He is revealing Himself.” (Dynamis 2/23/2013)

“…our true spiritual character is revealed under pressure.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Samuel 13:9)

“Those who have never truly suffered may not appreciate God as much as those who have matured under hardship. Those who have seen God work in times of distress have a deeper insight into His loving kindness. If you have experienced great trials, you have the potential for great praise.” (Life Application Study Bible Psalms 107:32)

“We need to remember that there is help for us during our times of trial. God provides many ways to aid us for our redemption, but He also respects our free will as to whom we follow.” (Anne Marie Gazzolo)

“Christ accepts human nature in order to sanctify human nature; He accepts our weakness in order to make us strong; He takes on our sin in order to free us from sin; He suffers in order to transfigure suffering…” (Orthodox Study Bible, Luke 23:46)

“Knowing that Christ suffered pain and faced temptation helps us face our trials. Jesus understands our struggles because He faced them as a human being. We can trust Christ to help us survive suffering and overcome temptation.” (Life Application Study Bible Hebrews 2:18)"When we become followers of Christ, our old sinful nature doesn’t magically disappear. But in Christ, we are given a new nature. This new nature is the Holy Spirit indwelling our lives, and He has the power to crucify our old sinful nature every moment of every day. This is why Christianity is a daily battle. Although we desire to live in obedience to Christ, our flesh is still present, tempting us in the opposite direction." (Kasey Van Norman)

“Sometimes we think to ourselves,"I’m being obedient, so why aren’t things going better?” we face discomfort or inconvenience and immediately think either that we have misread God’s will or that God has made a mistake…When we do God’s will, we are not guaranteed comfort and convenience. But we are promised even discomfort and inconvenience has meaning in God’s plan.” (Life Application Study Bible, Luke 2:4,5)

“Suffering should not drive us away from God but help us identify with Him and allow His love to heal us.” (Life Application Study Bible, Romans 8:35,36)

“Because Christ understood our condition better than we do ourselves, He made a point by clearly stating,"in this world you will have tribulation but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). To use a popular expression He basically said,"stuff happens." In other words, we're going to face and deal with a lot of bad stuff in this world due to its sinful condition. Some we will bring on ourselves, some we won't.” (Sacramental Living)

“We must accept trials as part of the refining process that burns away impurities and prepares us to meet Christ...our trials, struggles, and persecutions refine and strengthen our faith, making us useful to God.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Peter 1:6,7)

“Our troubles can be helpful because (1) humble us, (2) wean us from the allurements of the world and drive us back to God, (3) vitalize our prayers, (4) allow us to experience more of God’s faithfulness, (5) make us more dependent upon God, (6) encourage us to submit to God’s purpose for our lives, and (7) make us more compassionate toward others in trouble.” (Life Application Study Bible Psalms 106:40-42)

“No matter what our situation may be, the Lord is with us.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalm 140:12)

“We may be uncertain and fearful about our future. But if we know God is in control, we can confidently follow Christ.” (Life Application Study Bible, John 21:18,19)

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 2and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Jesus Christ)

“Jesus is warning against anxiety, not against thoughtful planning. Our physical well-being is directly dependent on God, and only indirectly on food, drink, and clothing. Anxiety over earthly things demonstrates a lack of faith in God's care.” (The Orthodox Study Bible, Matthew 6:25-27)

“Here is the difference between worry and genuine concern – worry immobilizes, but concern moves you to action.” (Life Application Study Bible, Matthew 6:25)

“The Bible teaches that wisdom accumulates from several sources. First, we must not merely believe in God, but know him personally. When God’s gracious love becomes not an abstract doctrine but a living reality, it means our heart is less controlled by anxiety… (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“The other day I had a tough writing assignment from a client and I woke up riddled with anxiety about how I was going to get the information I needed and accomplish it. Due to my worry, I almost abandoned my morning prayer time so I could get to work right away. But it came to mind to trust God. Despite my anxiety, I went through my morning prayer ritual before I began work. Not long after my phone rang from a technical expert who worked for my client and I got all of the information I needed. This obviously didn’t involve life or death but it is often these little trials in life that challenge our trust in God. If we can master the little challenges, we can build up our spiritual muscles for the big ones.” (Sacramental Living)

"Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit is indeed willing but, but the flesh is weak.” (Jesus Christ, Mark 14:38)

“Remember that in times of great stress, you are vulnerable to temptation even if you have a willing spirit.” (Life Application Study Bible, Mark 14:38)

“Running away is sometimes considered cowardly. But wise people realize that removing themselves physically from temptation often can be the most courageous action to take.” (Life Application Study Bible. 2 Timothy 2:22)

“The way to overcome temptation is to keep alert and pray. Keeping alert means being aware of the possibilities of temptation, sensitive to the subtleties, and spiritual equipped to fight it. Because temptation strikes where we are most vulnerable, we can’t resist it alone. Prayer is essential…” (Life Application Study Bible, Matthew 26:40-41)

"God is faithful; and He will not permit you to be tempted beyond your strength. There are, therefore, temptations for which we do not have the strength to bear." (St. John Chrysostom)

"It isn’t enough to ask God to keep you away from temptation, make you stronger, or change your circumstances. You must ask Him to change you on the inside – at the level of your desires.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalm 141:4)

“Refiners throw pieces of gold into the furnace to be tested and purified by the fire. In the same way, God allows human souls to be tested by troubles until they become pure, transparent, and have profited greatly from the process. Therefore, this is the greatest advantage we have. So then, we shouldn’t be disturbed or discouraged when trials happen to us. For if refiners know how long to leave a piece of gold in the furnace, and when to draw it out, if they don’t allow it to remain in the fire until it is burnt up and destroyed, how much better does God understand this process! When He sees that we have become purer, He frees us from our trials so that we won’t be crushed and defeated by them." (St. John Chrysostom)

“Adversity reminds us that life is short, teaches us to live wisely, and refines our character.” (Life Application Study Bible, Ecclesiastes 7:1-4)

“If it is not easy to find anyone conforming to God’s will who has not been put to the test, we ought to thank God for everything that happens to us. If Peter had not failed to catch anything during the night’s fishing, he would not have caught anything during the day. And if Paul had not suffered physical blindness, he would not have been given spiritual sight. And if Stephen had not been slandered as a blasphemer, he would not have seen the heavens opened and have looked on God." (St. Mark the Ascetic)

“Any trouble a believer faces can ultimately bring glory to God because God can bring good out of any bad situation.” (Life Application Study Bible, John 11:4)

“Our real blessings often appear to us in the shapes of pains, losses, and disappointments; but let us have patience, and we soon shall see them in their proper figures.” (Joseph Askinas)

“We may ask God to remove our problems, and He may choose to do so. But we must recognize that often He will leave a problem but give us the strength and courage to deal with it.” (Life Application Study Bible, Acts 4:24-30)

“To believe that moral goodness will result in a good life is also a simplistic understanding of God’s purposes for us. He is infinitely wise, can see the end from the beginning, and has good purposes for us hidden on the far side of the wilderness. Just as Job’s patience in suffering turned him into an example that has helped hundreds of millions of people, and just as Jesus’ temptations prepared Him for his history-changing and world-saving career, so God’s Spirit leads us into our wildernesses for our good.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“No one is exempt from trials and tribulations. In fact, this is often what happens to people God loves very much, for it is part of God’s often mysterious and good plan for turning us into something great.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“God does not allow a burden beyond a person's spiritual strength." (Orthodox Study Bible, John 18:8)

“Nothing comes without effort. The help of God is always ready and always near, but is given only to those who seek and work, and only to those seekers who, after putting all their powers to the test, then cry out with their whole heart:"Lord, help us.” (St. Theophan the Recluse)"God gives us the power to overcome our obstacles, but ...we often let difficulties control our lives...We become fearful and immobile when we focus on the negative aspects of a situation....When you are confronted with an important decision and know what you should do, move out in faith. Focus on the positives while trusting God to overcome the negatives.” (Life Application Study Bible, Deuteronomy 1:22, 23-40)

“But no matter how trapped you feel in your infirmities, God can minister to your deepest needs. Don’t let a problem or hardship cause you to lose hope. God may have special work for you to do in spite of your condition, or even because of it. Many have ministered effectively to hurting people because they have triumphed over their own hurts.” (Life Application Study Bible, John 5:6)"[Christ's] baptism and temptation are connected tightly by the single word"then.” God spoke words of powerful assurance:"This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil."Then” is almost “therefore.” And this is a fact of life, as well as of spiritual life.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“Many people think that believing in God protects them from trouble, so when calamity comes they question God’s goodness and justice…you should not give up on God because He allows you to have bad experiences. Faith in God does not guarantee personal prosperity, and lack of faith does not guarantee troubles in this life…God is capable of rescuing us from suffering. But He may also allow suffering to come for reasons we cannot understand. If we always knew why we were suffering, our faith would have no room to grow.” (Life Application Study Bible, Job 10)

“When we are burdened or mistreated, we may feel defeated. But our burdens can make us stronger and develop qualities in us that will prepare for us in the future. We cannot be overcomers without troubles to overcome. Be true to God in the hard times because even the worst situations can make us better people.” (Life Application Study Bible, Exodus 1:12)

"The spiritual life is characterized by change; there is no invariability in it. Intercessions of grace and divine comfort always alternate with periods when man feels himself left alone and helpless. Comforts strengthen the infirmity of man; they make him stronger; they teach him to rely on God; they elicit thankfulness towards Him. The sensation of abandonment, the knowledge of one’s own helplessness, on the contrary, subdues human pride; it gives the best opportunity for understanding that without God we are nothing. Feeling our helplessness, we begin earnestly to search for God’s help; it is only then that we most frequently learn for the first time what real prayer is.” (Hieromonk Nektary)

“...when God is all you have, you discover that God is all you need.” (Richard Stearns)

“God has help where we least expect it. He provides for us in ways that go beyond our narrow definitions or expectations. No matter how bitter our trials or how seemingly hopeless our situation, we should look for God’s caring touch. We may find his providence in some strange places!” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Samuel 17:10)

"The army of Israel looked at Goliath through the eyes of man and said he’s too big to beat. David looked at him through the eyes of God and said he’s too big to miss.” (Wally Carter)

“It is easy for us to be drawn into wrong desires by the pressures of society and sometimes even well-meaning Christians. By listening to the advice:"Assert yourself,”"Go for it,”"Set high goals” we can be drawn into greed and destructive competitiveness. Seeking God’s wisdom delivers us from the need to compare ourselves to others and to want what they have.” (Life Application Study Bible James 3:14,15)

“Life is full of distractions and delusions. Something as simple as the routines of our daily schedules can lull us into missing our God-given purpose. Even the familiarity of"going through the motions” can seduce us into spiritual complacency, which if left unchecked will inevitably suffocate our potential and cause us to miss all that God has for us.” (Kasey Van Norman)"I was always complaining about the ruts in the road until I realized the ruts are the road.” (Unknown)

“My faith reminds me that change is constant. Every day I’m presented with a choice to grow or remain stagnant. When I recognize something within me that I want to change, I know I can rely on God’s strength to help me. I also know it will be a struggle, but growth comes through struggle.” (Ryan Shook & Josh Shook)

“I hadn’t yet learned that our worst times must also be the times when our faith in God is strongest. I didn’t know that God is with us in our suffering, and that suffering can bring us even closer to Him. As hard as it can be for us to believe, our very worst moments are precisely when God’s grace is most brightly revealed.” (Crystal McVea & Alex Tresniowski)

“...tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

“We will face trials and tribulations in this life, but we need not be overwhelmed by them. Even Jesus stumbled and fell carrying His Cross.” (Fr. Joseph Irvin)

"The problems that we run into will develop our perseverance—which in turn will strengthen our character, deepen our trust in God, and give us greater confidence about the future. You probably find your patience tested in some way every day. Thank God for those opportunities to grow, and deal with them in his strength.” (Life Application Study Bible, Romans 5:3-4)

“We enjoy the peace that comes from being made right with God, but we still face daily problems that often help us grow. If we remember these two sides of the Christian life, we will not grow discouraged as we face temptations and problems.” (Life Application Study Bible, Romans 5:1-5)

"Do not fear the conflict, and do not flee from it; where there is no struggle, there is no virtue. Our faith, trust, and love are proved and revealed in adversities, that is, in difficult and grievous outward and inward circumstances, during sickness, sorrow and privations." (St. John of Kronstadt)

"There are certainly things in this life that God can reveal to us only in the midst of adversity. There are hidden places deep in our souls He can reach only through our suffering.” (Mary Nelson)

"While God may allow us to suffer for a reason beyond our understanding, He is never caught by surprise by our troubles and is always compassionate.” (Life Application Study Bible, Job 1:12)

“Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives, is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.” (Corrie ten Boom)

"Jesus does not abandon us to our struggles....If we remember that the ultimate victory has already been won, we can claim the peace of Christ in the most troublesome times.” (Life Application Study Bible, John 16:33)

"...God’s plan for us is perfect, even when bad things happen and we don’t understand why.” (Crystal McVea & Alex Tresniowski)

“Through the operation of our wills, in cooperation with God's grace, we can surmount many of the trials and tribulations that life in the fallen world brings with it. We must endure them, because they are part of this world that we dwell in, but we need not be overwhelmed or determined by them.” (Fr. Joseph Irvin)

“Pray for strength and endurance in sufferings, for trials and temptations are encountered on the spiritual path." (St. Peter of Damascus)

“In our times of desperation, we don’t have to worry about the correct way to reach out to God...we can simply reach out in faith. He will respond.” (Life Application Study Bible, Matthew 9:20-22)

“Sometimes we feel that our problems will keep us from God. But He is always ready to help, no matter how impossible the problem seems to us.” (Life Application Study Bible, Mark 5:24-34)

“I’ve met so many innocent sufferers who seem to be gladly offering their pain to God in Christ … so patient, so meek, even so at peace, and so unselfish that we can hardly doubt they are being, as St. Paul says,"made perfect by suffering.” (C. S. Lewis)

“...temptations happen to everyone, so don’t feel you’ve been singled out;... others have resisted temptation, and so can you...“Running from a tempting situation is your first step on the way to victory...any temptation can be resisted because God will show you a way out.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Corinthians 10:13)

“Whatever your particular weak spot was prior to your commitment to God – anger, judgment of others, lust or other poor behaviors – you will likely find tested and the temptations you experienced before, that seemingly disappeared for a time, come back literally with a vengeance. This is typically a sign you are on the right path but it is also a dangerous time because you will inevitably mess up.” (Sacramental Living)

“When this happens don’t fall into the prideful trap like Judas of beating yourself up for failure as if you were now beyond the potential to fail and slip into self-judgment, and worse, quit your pursuit of God. He knows you are not perfect and will fail in your walk with Him – many, many times. That is why He condescended to us in Christ in love, established His Church and the Sacrament of Repentance, and gave us the Scriptures to remind us of His continual forgiveness to us when we fail and sincerely repent. He is always there for us to forgive us and get us back on our feet.” (Sacramental Living)

“…the danger in changing behavior without Christ and solely through our own will power is that it is typically a short-term solution and we fall back into old behaviors when temptation rears its head.” (Sacramental Living)

“Whether we are resisting temptation or battling fear, God has promised to fight with and for us as we place our hope and confidence in him.” (Life Application Study Bible, Deuteronomy 3:21,22)

“Nothing challenges our faith or fuels our doubts more than the presence of pain, suffering, and evil in our world."Why,” we ask,"would a loving God allow such horrors?” This nagging question, perhaps more than any other, can undermine our faith..." (Richard Stearns)

"The godly suffer, in part, so that having experienced God's comfort they in turn can comfort others. Thus, Paul shows the fallacy in his opponents' idea that Christians should never suffer and should be concerned only with their own salvation.” (Orthodox Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 1:6)

“Without Him [Christ], ...suffering....would be nothing but evil. In Him and with Him, however, it is redemptive. It too becomes a sacrament, something both human and divine, joining man and God.” (Stratford Caldecott)

"Many think that when God comforts us, our troubles should go away. But if that were always so, people would turn to God only out of a desire to be relieved of pain and not out of love for him. We must understand that being"comforted” can also mean receiving strength, encouragement, and hope to deal with our troubles.” (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 1:3-5)

“...every trial you endure will help you comfort other people who are suffering similar troubles.” (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 1:3-5)

“Never underestimate how vulnerable we are during times of suffering and pain. We must hold on to our faith even if there is no relief.” (Life Application Study Bible, Job 3:1)

“When you feel sad and lonely and separated from God, remember that God does not abandon you.” (Life Application Study Bible, Isaiah 1:4-9)

"God’s Heart is especially tender toward the downtrodden... He knows your name and He has seen every tear you have shed.” (James Dobson)

“During times of great stress, we may feel God’s presence more clearly and find help from Christians we never thought would care.” (Life Application Study Bible, Hebrews 10:32-36)

“I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I know who holds tomorrow…Don’t worry about tomorrow. God is already there.” (Unknown)

“...when rocked by feelings of love or anger or sorrow, or when defeated by the trauma of a personal tragedy, man's natural instinct is to search for something that will provide the answers and give him comfort and solace. There is a longing that will not be filled or satisfied by material things.” (Fr. Joseph Irvin)

"In times of grief, terror, and dejection we may reach"the end of our rope” – and yet God is present, most noticeably in our extremities. He tells us that He is preserving us along the way and promises to bring us home after He accomplishes all things.” (Dynamis 9/7/13)

“We often lose hope in the face of worldly troubles. However, it is precisely while on such tough journeys that God calls us to move forward confidently.” (Dynamis 9/7/13)

"When we can't piece together the puzzle of our own lives, remember the best view of a puzzle is from above. Let Him help put you together." (Jesus Saves@GodlyLife)

"Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it." (Helen Keller)

“When pain is to be borne, a little courage helps more than much knowledge, a little human sympathy more than much courage, and the least tincture of the love of God more than all.” (C.S. Lewis)

“...even if we should suffer in this lifetime, we know that our final destination is eternal life with Him in paradise. Therefore, we are never to be controlled by fear.” (James Stuart Bell)"God wills that we know that He keeps us ever equally safe, in woe as in well-being.”(Julian of Norwich)

“Cling tightly to your faith through all your trials, and you, too, will be rewarded by God—if not now, in the life to come.” (Life Application Study Bible, Job 42:10,11)

“The next time you face trials and dilemmas, see them as opportunities to turn to God for strength. You will find a God who only desires to show His love and compassion to you. If you can trust Him in pain, confusion, and loneliness, you will win the victory and eliminate doubt...Make God your foundation. You can never be separated from His love.” (Life Application Study Bible, Job 42:18)

“Christ transformed suffering on the cross and made it a means for our personal growth…..” (Sacramental Living)

“We don’t usually think of suffering as good for us, but it can build our character and our patience.” (Life Application Study Bible, Hebrews 10:32-36)

"In addition to drawing people closer to Christ, suffering can also help them grow in their faith. God uses suffering to improve his people and shape them into better Christians. In fact, suffering should be thought of as the necessary pain that accompanies spiritual growth.” (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 1:6,7)

"We always find that those who walked closest to Christ were those who had to bear the greatest trials." (St. Teresa of Avila)

“He [Christ] meant what He said. Those who put themselves in His hands will become perfect, as He is perfect—perfect in love, wisdom, joy, beauty, and immortality. The change will not be completed in this life, for death is an important part of the treatment. How far the change will have gone before death in any particular Christian is uncertain.” (C. S. Lewis)

“Believers understand many doctrinal truths in the mind, but those truths seldom make the journey down into the heart except through disappointment, failure, and loss.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“Pain can help us grow...God does not eliminate all hardship when we are following him closely, and good behavior is not always rewarded by prosperity. Rewards for good and punishment for evil are in God’s hands and given out according to his timetable.” (Life Application Study Bible, Job 5:17-6)

“...many people find God through affliction and suffering. They find that adversity moves them toward God rather than away. Troubled times awaken them out of their haunted sleep of spiritual self-sufficiency into a serious search for the divine.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“…humbling events and afflicting circumstances do not necessarily indicate that a man is evil or sinful. In God’s good-but-fallen world, our present state – whether we are enjoying the good things in life, or whether we are afflicted and deprived of worldly pleasures – cannot be directly attributed either to sin or to blameless living.” (Dynamis 8/22/2013)

"Sometimes man is subjected to a very long period of this abandonment, when the sky is seemingly shut for him and the soul becomes completely unreceptive to any spiritual sensation.....At this time the enemy usually confuses a Christian with thoughts of grief and desperation, making him think that those gratifying feelings and the experiences that occurred before will never return, and life will become increasingly worse and worse. But this is a lie. If the person survives this test of spiritual coldness with fortitude, without ceasing to fight and to work on himself, then he will again perceive the action and comfort of grace, moreover in a much larger measure than hitherto known to him.” (Hieromonk Nektary)

“Each person must take up his own cross. The burden in this world is different for each person, and each has been chosen by God to bear certain struggles for their own salvation and the salvation of those around them.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Luke 9:23)

"The difficulties faced each day by worldly people serve as their 'monastic rule', and it is by them that they are purified. Such difficulties do far more good for people than any easy, worldly life, which does not help them either to get closer to God or to amass a heavenly reward. This is why people must accept such difficulties as gifts from God." (Blessed Elder Paisios)"The God of the Bible . . . both suffers with humanity—supremely on the cross—and yet is in some sense also sovereign over suffering. Both beliefs were (and are) essential to the traditional Christian assertion that suffering ultimately has some meaning and that the triune God is able to provide deliverance from it.” (Ronald K. Rittgers)

“The gospels show us Jesus experiencing the ordinary pressures, difficulties, and pains of normal human life. He experienced weariness and thirst, distress, grief, and being"troubled in heart”. His suffering was such that throughout his life He offered up prayers"with loud cries and tears”. He knew what it was like to be completely misunderstood by his best friends and rejected by his family and hometown. He was also tempted and assaulted by the devil. And amazingly, we are told that Jesus"learned” from what He suffered … The God on whom we rely knows what suffering is all about, not merely in the way that God knows everything, but by experience.” (Pastor Timothy Keller, Don Carson)

“Christ learned humanhood from his suffering. [And therefore] we learn Christhood from our suffering.” (Dan McCartney)

“Trials and temptations come on their own; we should never intentionally expose ourselves to danger in order to test or prove God's protection.”(Orthodox Study Bible, Matthew 4:7)

"Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is." (C.S. Lewis)

"We carry ourselves wherever we go and we cannot escape temptation by mere flight." (Matrona)

"Support for each other in the fight against temptation, sin and surrender to evil is not only important, it also is essential." (Dynamis 9/29/2013)

“What a glory it is to say,"Christ is in our midst; He is and ever shall be!” These words express the great truth that slavery is over, although terrible battles and temptations lie ahead. There will be relapses, and new gifts of grace will be required if we are to attain the freedom of God’s Kingdom.” (Dynamis 10/24/2013)

“There are two types of pain in this world: pain that hurts you, and pain that changes you.” (Epic Women)

“A life of goodness can make affliction even harder for a person to take, since it makes it all seem so completely senseless and unfair.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“...grief and sorrow drive you more into God. It is just as when it gets colder outside, the temperature kicks the furnace higher through the thermostat. Similarly, the sorrow and the grief drive you into God and show you the resources you never had.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)"Sometimes, our greatest strengths can be found while trusting God through our greatest obstacles… God brings men into deep waters, not to drown them, but to cleanse them.” (God's Grace, John Aughey)

“...we must prepare not only the mind for suffering but also the heart, and that means developing a consistent, vibrant, theologically deep yet existentially rich prayer life.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“A one-size-fits-all prescription for handling suffering is bound to fail, because not only does suffering come in so many different forms but sufferers themselves come with so many different kinds of temperaments and spiritual conditions. The Bible forbids us to use a single template for handling pain and grief, but modern people tend to be more reductionist.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“There is a way of using theology and theological arguments that wounds rather than heals. This is not the fault of theology and theological arguments; it is the fault of the"miserable comforter” who fastens on an inappropriate fragment of truth, or whose timing is off, or whose attitude is condescending, or whose application is insensitive, or whose true theology is couched in such culture-laden clichés that they grate rather than comfort." (Don Carson)

“When people ask me what drove me out the doors of the church and then what brought me back, my answer to both questions is the same. I left the church in part because I was mad at God about human suffering and injustice. And I came back to church because of that same struggle. I realized that I couldn’t even talk about justice without standing inside of a theistic framework.” (Andrea Palpant Dilley)

“There are millions of ordinary Christians who . . . do not feel there is a problem [of suffering]. They have theological answers that satisfy them: suffering is the result of sin; free will means that God has to leave people to make their own mistakes; heaven and hell will set the record straight. . . . And then something takes place in their own life that jolts them to the cores. . . . That is not to say, however, that the set of beliefs is irrelevant. It is to say that . . . the Christian, to find comfort in them, must learn how to use them.” (Don Carson)

"It is one thing to believe in God but it is quite another thing to trust God. It is one thing to have an intellectual explanation for why God allows suffering; it is another thing to actually find a path through suffering so that, instead of becoming more bitter, cynical, despondent, and broken, you become more wise, grounded, humble, strong, and even content...using the intellect to make some sense out of suffering is important, but it must be accompanied not merely with knowing about God, but with knowing God” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“People who live for God often wonder why they still have temptations. Does God tempt them? God tests people, but He does not tempt them by trying to seduce them to sin.” (Life Application Study Bible, James 1:13-14)

"God does not tempt us…He never tempts us. He tests us…in order to help us grow. It only feels like temptation if in fact we are succumbing to the age old desire for knowledge and power to live life on our own terms and not seek Him first.” (Echoes of Truth)

“The difference between testing and temptation is one of intent. God tests us similar to how a good coach or mentor tests us – with selfless intent for our own improvement and growth. The devil tempts us with the sole selfish intent of destroying us.” (Sacramental Living II)

“God does not shield believers [or anyone] from difficult circumstances, but He examines (or tests) both the righteous and the wicked. For some, God’s tests become a refining fire, while for others they become an incinerator for destruction. Don’t ignore of defy tests and challenges that come your way. Use them as opportunities to grow.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalms 11:6)

"A certain monk asked one of the elders,"Why are my thoughts always inclined to defilement, so that they give me no rest even for an hour, and my soul is troubled?" The elder said to him,"If the demons inspire thoughts in you, do not give in to them." It is their nature to tempt constantly. And even though they never leave off this temptation, they cannot force you to sin. It depends on your will to listen to them or not to listen." The brother said to the elder,"What should I do? I am weak and the passion is conquering me." The elder answered,"Guard against them, and when they begin to speak to you, do not answer them, but pray to God: Son of God, have mercy on me!" (Ancient Patericon)

"Prayer is our principal weapon. By it we obtain of God the victory over our evil inclinations, and over all temptations.” (St. Alphonsus)

“Conquer temptations by the patience and prayer. If you oppose them without these, you will fall all the more severely.” (St. Mark the Ascetic)

“In all things He had to be made like His brethren—Christ was even tempted—for what is not assumed is not healed, and what is united to God is saved.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Hebrews 2:17-18)

“It’s hard to imagine sometimes that Christ was actually tempted. We tend to think of Him as"above it all” when, in fact, He condescended to us by becoming one of us. So in a sense, in leaving Heaven and coming to us as a man He willingly chose to be"below it all.” The next time you ever feel tempted, whether it is in something small or something you feel great shame and guilt about, remember two things: 1) Being tempted is not a sin; giving into temptation is; and 2) Christ can relate to your temptation so simply pray to Him. You may find either the temptation dissipates or you find His strength to overcome it.” (Sacramental Living Blog/Podcast)

“If we expect to have a relationship with God and have Him dwell in our hearts and commune with Him, we have to treat our spiritual life as something important and something we are committed to…Spiritual idleness and relaxation is a great and ever-present temptation.” (Abbott Tryphon, Dynamis 11/28/2014)

“We may resist a temptation at first because we know that we should and because wiser souls have told us what could happen if we do not. But then it begins to look attractive, and we start to want it. Sense and nonsense switch places in our mind, and we begin to think the opposite of what we were taught. It may be a while before we realize who told the truth and who the lie, and what we thought was solely an act of our own will was actually the press of another upon ours.” (Anne Marie Gazzolo)

"A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is…A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in…Christ, because he was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means—the only complete realist." (C.S. Lewis)

“Such is the way with temptation. We resist with no problem one moment and give in the next” (Anne Marie Gazzolo)

“....each time Christ rebukes the devil, it is with the truth and power of Scripture. This teaches the faithful to become immersed in Scripture in order to resist and drive away every temptation..." (Orthodox Study Bible, Luke 4:4)

"Somehow in modern-day Christian circles, we tend to see God’s faithfulness as saving us from suffering. And yes, sometimes, in His great mercy, He does save us from suffering. But that is not the mark of His faithfulness. We see in Scripture that many of those He loved deeply are also those who suffered greatly.” (Gigi/Pastor Timothy Keller)

“How readily we conclude, because we find ourselves in degrading or demeaning circumstances, that God is neither present nor active in our lives…God remains present with His faithful even in the worst of trials.” (Dynamis 11/7/2013, 12/17/2013)

“My own experience is something like this. I am progressing along the path of life in my ordinary contentedly fallen and godless condition, absorbed in a merry meeting with my friends for the morrow or a bit of work that tickles my vanity today, a holiday or a new book, when suddenly a stab of abdominal pain that threatens serious disease, or a headline in the newspapers that threatens us all with destruction, sends this whole pack of cards tumbling down. At first I am overwhelmed, and all my little happinesses look like broken toys. Then, slowly and reluctantly, bit by bit, I try to bring myself into the frame of mind that I should be in at all times. I remind myself that all these toys were never intended to possess my heart, that my true good is in another world and my only real treasure is Christ.” (C. S. Lewis)"Although God loves us, believing and obeying Him do not shelter us from life’s calamities. Setbacks, tragedies, and sorrows strike Christians and non-Christians alike. But in our tests and trials, God expects us to express our faith to the world.” (Life Application Study Bible, Job 1:8,12)

"Trusting God in suffering also glorifies Him to others. When believers handle suffering rightly, they are not merely glorifying God to God. They are showing the world something of the greatness of God—and perhaps nothing else can reveal Him to people in quite the same way.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“… you probably face many problems that wear you down. You deal with irritating people whom you must love and serve; you face the burden of unfinished tasks or lack of obvious results; you cope with helpers who let you down or fail to comprehend. Remember that in times of great stress, you are vulnerable to temptation, even if you have a willing spirit.” (Life Application Study Bible, Mark 14:38)

“We are surrounded by a multitude of opportunities to indulge in pride, greed, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth, all of which run counter to the gifts of the Spirit. These temptations assault us as we painstakingly seek to live the life in Christ.” (Dynamis 2/13/2014)

“What makes the temptation of power so seemingly irresistible? Maybe it is that power offers an easy substitute for the hard task of love. It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life …" (Henri Nouwen)"He who wishes to overcome temptations without prayer and patient endurance will not succeed in driving them away, but will, in fact, become more entangled in them." (St. Mark the Ascetic) "Christ's empathy with sinners rests on His being tempted in every way we are.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Hebrews 4:15)

“In our gloom and despair, we fear that our sorrows and troubles will never end. But we can take comfort in this certainty: Although the Lord may not always spare us from troubles, if we follow him wholeheartedly, He will lead us safely through them.” (Life Application Study Bible, Isaiah 9:1)

“Visionary people face the same problems everyone else faces; but rather than get paralyzed by their problems, visionaries immediately commit themselves to finding a solution. Almost as a reflex reaction to the problem they say,"The situation is bad, all right, but no problem is bigger than God. And right now, before I get bogged down, I need to start down the path of solving it.” More often than not, visionaries find a way, with God’s help, to deal with their problems and overcome them rather than surrender their lives to them.” (Bill Hybels)

"...the Lord desires us to move away from simply crying over our circumstances and to enter into His presence." (Dynamis 1/26/2014)

“Suffering, as we will see, can lead to personal growth, training, and transformation, but we must never see it as primarily a way to improve ourselves. That view could lead us to a form of masochism, an enjoyment of ache, because we only feel virtuous when we are in pain. Even without such perspective, suffering tends to make you self-absorbed. If it is seen as mainly about you and your own growth, it will strangle you truly. Instead, we must look at suffering— whatever the proximate causes—as primarily a way to know God better, as an opening for serving, resembling, and drawing near to Him as never before.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

"If the mind is well prepared, the coming of adversity will not be a complete shock. But when suffering first hits you, the gap between what you know with the mind and what you can use out of your store of knowledge in your heart can be surprisingly large. When troubles come, you will need God’s help to find the particular insights, consoling thoughts, and wisdom you will need to get you through. Some of these you may have already known intellectually, but God will have to make them real and relevant in a new way. Others you will not have seen before and will have to learn.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“We often wish we could escape troubles—the pain of grief, loss, sorrow, and failure; or even the small daily frustrations that constantly wear us down. God promises to be"close to the brokenhearted,” to be our source of power, courage, and wisdom, helping us through our problems.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalms 34:18-19)

“How readily we conclude, because we find ourselves in degrading or demeaning circumstances, that God is neither present nor active in our lives…God remains present with His faithful even in the worst of trials.” (Dynamis 11/7/2013, 12/17/2013)

“Suffering is an inescapable aspect of human life in the present world. Suffering, affliction and tragic experiences disclose the vulnerable nature of human life; it enables us to recognize our limitations as human beings and our dependence upon others and upon God for sustenance in life. Suffering has the potential to lead human beings either to despair, misery and self enclosure or to transcendence through hope and faith, trusting the benevolence of God.” (Fr. Emmanuel Clapsis)

"Only Christianity, of all the world’s major religions, teaches that God came to earth in Jesus Christ and became subject to suffering and death Himself. See what this means? Yes, we do not know the reason God allows evil and suffering to continue, or why it is so random, but now at least we know what the reason is not. It cannot be that He does not love us. It cannot be that He does not care. He is so committed to our ultimate happiness that He was willing to plunge into the greatest depths of suffering himself.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“Trusting God in suffering also glorifies Him to others. When believers handle suffering rightly, they are not merely glorifying God to God. They are showing the world something of the greatness of God—and perhaps nothing else can reveal Him to people in quite the same way.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“Let no say when he is tempted by evil. ‘I am tempted by God; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted by when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” (James 1:13-14)

“This quote also brings to mind what we mistakenly believe sometimes – that God tempts us. James makes it clear God does not tempt us. Because we have free will, ultimately, whether the temptation is more from without or from within, if we give in it is because of our choice to do so. God may test us, but He never tempts us. He tests us and His loving gift of free will to us in order to help us grow. It only feels like temptation if in fact we are succumbing to the age old desire for knowledge and power to live life on our own terms and not seek Him first.” (Sacramental Living II)

"Life is always composed of those experiences and encounters which provide both challenge to one’s character and the testing of one’s spirit…” (H. Beecher Hicks)

“Authentic religion is not a theology test. It’s a love test.” (Oliver Thomas)

"The tribulations that come to us are sometimes the antibiotics given by God for the illnesses of our soul, and - spiritually - help us very much. A person receives a soft"smack" and his heart is softened. God, of course, knows the condition of each person. However, because we do not know this condition, He allows that we be tested, so that we come: to know ourselves; to find the passions hidden within us; and [to] not have unreasonable expectations on the Day of Judgment." (Blessed Elder Paisios)

“Somehow in modern-day Christian circles, we tend to see God’s faithfulness as saving us from suffering. And yes, sometimes, in His great mercy, He does save us from suffering. But that is not the mark of His faithfulness. We see in Scripture that many of those He loved deeply are also those who suffered greatly.” (Gigi/Pastor Timothy Keller)

"Paradoxically, it is oftentimes in the experience of pain and suffering that we are most prepared to bear an abundant harvest of spiritual fruit. Good times tend to make us complacent and self satisfied. Sorrow, tribulation, ill health, and disappointment, however, have a way of stimulating us to re-order our priorities and help us to gain perspective and maturity. I have found that it is through my own personal suffering that I have gained my greatest compassion and understanding for others.” (Rev Andrew J Demotses)

“When faced with a problem, our initial reaction is usually to look at its outward symptoms and to relieve them....According to Christ, the roots of all problems lie in the human soul and that problem can only truly be resolved by transforming the soul." (St. John Chrysostom)

“Suffering is not a problem, but an unfathomable, theoretically incomprehensible mystery. We should not try to explain suffering or construct theories about the reasons for suffering in the world and systematic explanations that seek to reconcile innocent suffering with belief in a good and all powerful God. The pervading presence of senseless suffering in the world falls outside the bounds of every rational system.” (Fr. Emmanuel Clapsis)

"If God is right there, in the midst of our struggle, then our aim is to stay there. We are to remain in the cell, to stay on the road, not to forego the journey or forget the darkness. It is all too easy for us to overlook the importance of struggle, preferring instead to secure peace and rest, or presuming to reach the stage of love prematurely. It is always easier to allow things to pass by, to go on without examination and effort. Yet, struggling means living. It is a way of fully living life and not merely observing it.” (Reverend Dr. John Chryssavgis)

“ is difficult and filled with trials and suffering, and also…life is sweet and filled with joy and great consolations. Both of these things are true, and no one is immune from the former or utterly locked out of the latter.” (Rev. Christopher H. Martin)

“The Christian doctrine of suffering explains, I believe, a very curious fact about the world we live in. The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: but joy, pleasure, and merriment, He has scattered broadcast. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God... Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home." (C. S. Lewis)

“Christianity teaches that, contra fatalism, suffering is overwhelming; contra Buddhism, suffering is real; contra karma, suffering is often unfair; but contra secularism, suffering is meaningful. There is a purpose to it, and if faced rightly, it can drive us like a nail deep into the love of God and into more stability and spiritual power than you can imagine.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

"We have used the image of"spiritual athlete” to describe the life of a Christian. There are times when athletes endure extreme pain to win their competition. Their conditioning strengthens their endurance. Our own spiritual training allows us to bear our cross daily with joy and to endure whatever suffering comes as a result of our Faith in Christ God." (Abouna Justin Rose)

“God will give us all the strength we need in times of distress, but He never gives it in advance lest we rely on ourselves.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

“We often face spiritual and emotional storms and feel tossed about like a small boat on a big lake. In spite of terrifying circumstances, if we trust our lives to Christ for His safekeeping, He will give us peace in any storm.” (Life Application Study Bible, John 6:18)

"When you suffer from a disease, tragedy, or disability, try not to ask"Why did this happen to me?” or"What did I do wrong?” Instead, ask God to give you strength for the trial and a clearer perspective on what is happening.” (Life Application Study Bible, John 9:2-3)

"...suffering transforms our attitude toward ourselves. It humbles us and removes unrealistic self-regard and pride. It shows us how fragile we shows us we have always been vulnerable and dependent on God. Suffering merely helps us wake up to that fact and live in accordance with it.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

"We may have an unexamined feeling that God will not let really bad things happen to good people. But Jesus Christ himself disproves that. If God allowed a perfect man to suffer terribly (but for an ultimate good), why should we think that something like that could never happen to us?... Because God is both sovereign and suffering, we know our suffering always has meaning even though we cannot see it. We can trust Him without understanding it all.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

"We always find that those who walked closest to Christ were those who had to bear the greatest trials." (St. Teresa of Avila)

"A person who doesn't go through tribulations, who doesn't want to feel pain, or to suffer hardships, who doesn't want others to trouble him, or to correct him, but wants to have an easy life, is out of touch with reality. We are reminded of the Psalmist, who says: 'We went through fire and through water and you led us into a refreshing place.” (Blessed Elder Paisios)

"Some people have the naïve view that because they are fairly savvy people, or self-disciplined, or morally decent, or good Christians—that really, really bad things simply can’t happen to them. That is nothing but bad theology. And so many people’s misery and distress in suffering is doubled and trebled, coming not from the trouble itself but from the shock that they are suffering at all." (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“The world is not set up to guarantee us permanent bliss in this life. Any progress that we make in revealing the image and likeness of God can be quickly and easily undone, even in a moment...Under stress, we all regress.” (Rev. Christopher H. Martin)

“So pain endures for a time. Its role is to purge us, make us to know ourselves, and it drives us to the Lord to plead for mercy. The passion of our Lord and the knowledge that His will will indeed be done gives us strength to bear up to all this.” (Julian of Norwich)

"God never asks us to suffer for the sake of suffering. He never asks us to give up something good unless He plans to replace it with something even better.” (Life Application Study Bible, Luke 14:16-35)

“Problems and heartaches can overwhelm us and cause us to feel that God has rejected us. But God our Creator is eternally with us...even though we may feel alone.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalms 102:25-27)

“It is a kind of cruel irony that suffering often carries with it a sense of being abandoned, of being left alone in one’s pain, as if the agony were not enough in itself. What we desperately want to know when we are suffering is that somebody cares..." (Bishop John Michael Botean)

"Growing strong in God’s presence is often preceded by a journey through barren places in our lives." (Life Application Study Bible, Psalms 84:5-7)

“If we are found in a difficult situation, we must not be upset. We should realize this is God’s way to make us closer to him.” (Elder Paisios)

“Many people have become great in spite of, as well as because of, disaster. This is the victory of God’s love, but it does not come to all. It comes to those who keep their faith clear and their lives clean toward God. It comes to those who keep in touch with the divine love, are linked to the divine will, and look for chances of helping on the purposes they are sure God still has for them. (Eric Liddell)

"Many people think that believing in God protects them from trouble, so when calamity comes, they question God’s goodness and justice...Faith in God does not guarantee personal prosperity, and lack of faith does not guarantee troubles in this life." (Life Application Study Bible, Job 2:10)

“When we choose to see God at work in our suffering, we can make our suffering meaningful for others in addition to ourselves by replacing self-pity with deeds of love, forgiveness, and mercy.” (Bishop John Michael Botean)

“The book of Job shows a good man suffering for no apparent fault of his own. Sadly, our world is like that. But Job’s story does not end in despair. Through Job’s life we can see that faith in God is justified even when our situations look hopeless.” (Life Application Study Bible, Job 1:1- 22)

“...trials refine our character. They bring us a new and deeper wisdom, helping us discern truth from falsehood and giving us the discipline to do what we know is right. Above all, these trials help us realize that life is a gift from God to be cherished, not a right to be taken for granted.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalms 66;10-12)

“The only way to learn strong faith is to endure great trials.” (George Muller)

“Pain and suffering are inevitable elements of life. What is not inevitable is our willingness to find meaning in it, or rather, to put meaning into it by enlarging our attention in order to see what God is accomplishing through it. We have to choose this change of perspective.” (Bishop John Michael Botean)

“On days when life is difficult and I feel overwhelmed, as I do fairly often, it helps to remember in my prayers that all God requires of me is to trust Him..." (Bruce Larson)

“Trust God in every situation. There are eternal reasons for temporary trials…Having a steadfast faith in God does not guarantee a happy, carefree life…While we are on earth, we may never see the purpose of our suffering. But we know that God will keep his promises to us.” (Life Application Study Bible, Daniel 3:27, Hebrews 11:32-40)

“The best we can hope for in this life is a knothole peek at the shining realities ahead. Yet a glimpse is enough. It’s enough to convince our hearts that whatever sufferings and sorrows currently assail us aren’t worthy of comparison to that which waits over the horizon." (Joni Eareckson Tada)

"Suffering is God’s invitation to trust Him and to look forward to a place where suffering will be replaced by Joy." (Randy Alcorn)

“Faith is not a storm cellar to which men and women can flee for refuge from the storms of life. It is, instead, an inner force that gives them the strength to face those storms and their consequences with serenity of spirit." (Sam J. Ervin, Jr.)

“In times of peril we may forget about Christ, retreating into the … reaction of fright and even blaming God….God does not keep us from encountering life’s storms, but He will see us through them.” (Dynamis 9/10/2014, Life Application Study Bible, Jeremiah 1:8)

“The Christian life may have more stormy weather than calm seas. As Christ’s follower, be prepared for the storms that will surely come. Do not surrender to the stress, but remain resilient and recover from setbacks. With faith in Christ, you can pray, trust, and move ahead.” ((Life Application Study Bible, Mark 4:37)

"It is precisely then, when the storm is strongest and at its most threatening, that we need to remember that when we call upon God and cast ourselves on Him with simple trust, we can be sure that His great power and wisdom will carry us through even the greatest tribulation and deliver us to the safe water of a calm harbor….we can surely trust our God to guide and protect us even in the worst of storms. We need only ask him to keep us this day, and every day that yet remains.” (Rev Andew J Demotses)

"Prayer is a harbor in the storms of life, an anchor for those who are storm-tossed…” (St. John Chrysostom)

“Temptation comes when we are isolated. As Saint Theophylact says of the Lord, ‘He is led into the wilderness to show us that the devil tempts you when he sees us alone and without help from others. Therefore we must not put our trust in ourselves without any counsel from others.’ Eve was caught when she was apart from Adam. So Saint John Chrysostom teaches us to flock ‘...together continually, that we may not be open to the devil’s attacks.’ ” (Dynamis 1/11/2014)

“Why, we may wonder, does He [God] allow us to be tempted in the first place, since He knows our attraction to sin? Why does our loving God allow this deadly plague to trouble us?...God allows us to become the devil’s special target, we might say, in the same way in which He gave His Son to the world (Jn 3:16). The members of the Church of Christ are hated by the evil one because we are"the apple of [God’s] eye” (Zec 2:12). When temptations come, let us remember that they provide evidence of God’s love.” (Dynamis 9/24/2014)

"Do not grieve over the temptations you suffer. When the Lord intends to bestow a particular virtue on us, He often permits us first to be tempted by the opposite vice. Therefore, look upon every temptation as an invitation to grow in a particular virtue and a promise by God that you will be successful, if only you stand fast.” (St. Philip Neri)

“The freedom to choose is the quintessential capacity for love. By making us in His image, God extends our ability to enter into loving relationships with Him and with other free beings. When we are tempted, we recall this ineffable truth of our human nature. Choice is always ours – and through choice we find the opportunity to return God’s love, even when we sin.” (Dynamis 9/24/2014)

“…the Lord will help you with His grace. Temptations are never stronger than grace…” (Elder Joseph the Hesychast)

“God does not shield believers from difficult circumstances, but He examines (or tests) both the righteous and the wicked. For some, God’s tests become a refining fire, while for others, they become an incinerator for destruction. Don’t ignore or defy the tests and challenges that come your way. Use them as opportunities for you to grow.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalms 11:5)

“In our rough times, we sometimes feel that God is"asleep at the wheel” so to speak. We don’t feel that He understands our condition or what we feel at the moment. The truth of the matter is that He does know what is happening, and more importantly, He does care about what is troubling us. But he also knows that in the end, things will work out if we can bring ourselves to trust in Him.” (Marianne C. Sailus)

“All of us have experienced times of discouragement, times when we feel that all in the world has turned against us. Our intentions are misunderstood, our words are misinterpreted, our suggestions are ignored, and our offers of help are met with rejection. As a result, we begin to feel marginalized and unappreciated, and became very dejected.” (Rev. Andrew J. Demotses)

"When we are completely beaten down, we are tempted to turn from God, give up, and quit trusting him. When your situation seems hopeless, determine that no matter how bad things become you will continue to pray. God will hear your prayer..." (Life Application Study Bible, Psalms 68:13)

"God brings men into deep waters, not to drown them, but to cleanse them." (John H Aughey)

“There is a scene in the book of Genesis in which the Patriarch Jacob cries out that everything is against him (Genesis 42:36). What he did not realize until later, at that very moment he was in despair, events were in motion that would reunite him with his beloved son Joseph who had been missing for years. He momentarily lost his trust and did not keep his perspective he had learned through faith that God was always looking out for him.” (Sacramental Living)

“God doesn’t always deliver us from our troubles; sometimes He delivers us through them. That’s a hard truth for us to accept, but it represents a very real dynamic in God’s economy.” (NIV Men's Devotional Bible)

“The Lord did not create suffering. Pain and death came into the world with the fall of man. But after man had chosen suffering in preference to the joys of union with God, the Lord turned suffering itself into a way by which man could come to the perfect knowledge of God.” (Thomas Merton)"…[Christ] uses the image of childbirth to inspire us in the midst of pain. We are to look beyond suffering, just as a mother, when she"has given birth to the child . . . no longer remembers the anguish” (John 16:21). Beyond Christ’s Passion lies His Resurrection. God is our surety for coping with pain,"and your joy no one will take from you.” (John 16:22).” (Dynamis 6/4/2014)"…we now see....sufferings in light of the victory of the Resurrection, and this victory transfigures our perception of sufferings. Christ's victory allows us to rejoice in anguish because of the infinitely greater good that comes from it." (Orthodox Study Bible, John 16:21)"We must always be attentive to the assaults of the devil; for can we hope that he will leave us without temptation, when he did not leave our Founder and Source of faith and Perfecter, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself?” (Saint Seraphim of Sarov)

“Jesus is like us because He experienced a full range of temptations throughout His life as a human being. We can be comforted knowing that Jesus faced temptation—He can sympathize with us. We can be encouraged knowing that Jesus faced temptation without giving in to sin. He shows us that we do not have to sin when facing the seductive lure of temptation.” (Life Application Study Bible, Hebrews 4:15)

“We all have areas where temptation is strong and habits are hard to conquer…Ever notice that the whisper of temptation can be heard louder than the loudest call to duty?” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 John 3:8-9, Earl Wilson)

“Inevitably, the pain that follows sin is greater than the pain of struggling against temptation. Likewise, the pain caused by our sinful acts exceeds the momentary pain of refusing to indulge in the pleasures of the moment. If we reflect on our own experience with sin, we may confirm these truths for ourselves.” (Dynamis 9/24/2014)

“Experience also teaches us that we are never victims who are forced to succumb to the lure of temptation…Our ability to make decisions underlies every temptation, but it has a greater and positive role for our gaining the growth that is in Christ.” (Dynamis 9/24/2014)

“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” (C.S. Lewis)

"Looking backwards would seem to imply the fate of Lot's wife (Genesis 19.26); 'No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God" (Luke 9.62). God Himself is revealed before us and walks in front of us."One thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead" (Philippians 3.13).” (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese)

“Looking too much to the past and hanging on to it at the expense of moving forward is dangerous to our mental well-being and spiritual growth. Lot’s wife looked to her past and turned into a pillar of salt. Lot and his daughters escaped destruction by continually moving forward.” (Sacramental Living)

"The worst battle we fight is in the mind. If you live in the past you will never be the person you are supposed to be in your future.” (Robert Osborne)

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

“In the midst of our worst troubles we find that our hearts are perplexed, our strength fails, the light of our eyes is not with us, and even our"friends and neighbors stand afar off” (see Ps 37:10-11). But let us never despair, for God is with us, ever attentive to the voice of our cries. We see Christ’s eternal message revealed through the Prophet Jeremiah:"‘I am a God who is near,’ says the Lord, ‘and not a God afar off’” (Jer 23:23).” (Dynamis 12/14/2014)

“At times, we get distressed, so we pick up our spirits and move along, allowing God to share in the burden."My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). It is His grace that transforms our weakness to His strength. This is how we wake up every morning with thanksgiving in our hearts and on our lips, because, had it not been for His assistance, our weakness would pull us down into hopelessness.” (Very Rev. Elias Bitar)

“What should we do when our stress load has our brains in a vise? Give up?...We like to control the environment around us, secure in the belief that we can handle anything life throws at us. But is that kind of rugged individualism really proper for the Christian?...True, we can’t simply sit on the couch and trust that God will pay the electric bill or change the attitude of a rebellious teenager. The"giving up” comes not in the action we have to take but in the results we expect our actions to effect. Different situations call us to act, to be sure. But when we relinquish control to God, we leave the results in His hands because we acknowledge that we never had control over them to begin with. When the pressures of life threaten to crush you and you’re called to action, begin by simply willing your mind to be still and recognizing that God is in control.” (NIV Men's Devotional Bible)

“Sometimes our burdens seem more than we can bear, and we wonder how we can go on...If you are bending under a burden and feel that you are about to fall, turn to God for help. He is ready to lift you up and bear your burden.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalms 145:14)

"Dear Lord, it is often very difficult to see the"silver lining" in our problems. But we know that You can see the good that is to come for my struggles. Help us to be ever patient and to trust in Your goodness, so that we, too, may see the victories contained in what appeared to be our defeats." (Marianne C. Sailus)

“…anyone can fall into sin if he fails to guard against temptation…At the root of most temptation is a real need or desire that God can fill, but we must trust in His timing.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Exodus 32:1-6, Life Application Study Bible, 2 Samuel 11:3-4)

“Since trials and temptations are certain, it is urgent that we make preparations for facing them. Setting boundaries helps us deflect the assaults against our faith that threaten our integrity…When we set a boundary around our life, we find help in making many day-to-day choices. Boundaries in the depths of the heart can fend off temptations.” (Dynamis 12/22/2014)

"We may be tempted to think that as we grow spiritually we should be less tempted. Paradoxically, this is when temptations often get worse. In Matthew we see that Christ was immediately tempted by the devil in the wilderness after His baptism (Matthew 3 and 4). The devil will always leave apathetic people alone. It's when you commit to Christ and growing in Him that you can expect greater temptations to follow." (Sacramental Living II)

“This is the great work of a man; always to take the blame for his own sins before God and to expect temptation to his last breath….In every evil and temptation that comes upon you, whether from within or from without here is the path of prayer that lies open before you..." (St. Anthony the Great, St. Isaac the Syrian)

"God does not grant a great gift without a great trial."'(St. Isaac the Syrian)

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