Did your boss sneak anything into the fine print of your job description that warned you your work required suffering?
A college degree? Maybe.
Hard work? Sure.
Suffering? Probably not.
Church-planting hopefuls Peter and Carol Chin were told directly and openly by leaders overseeing their training to prepare for suffering.
God uses difficulty to purify our faith and to spur us toward stronger character. That’s often particularly the case for those serving in ministry. Peter and Carol expected a few speed bumps. They got the Rocky Mountains.
The young couple had two children, and Carol was pregnant with their third. They were filled with excitement, hope, and a clear sense of God’s calling as they prepared for their move into the heart of Washington, D.C. to begin their ministry.
Then hardship swept through their lives like the story of Job. The news of one calamity was still on the lips of the news-bearer when they were struck by another. And another.
It started when Carol suffered a miscarriage. A few months later, they opened the door to their new home in the city and discovered every room had been ransacked, stripped clean of lights, sinks, toilets, copper piping – completely gutted. Not long after that, Carol discovered a suspicious lump that was diagnosed as cancer. Then their insurance dropped their coverage. Facing chemotherapy, Carol found out she was pregnant.
1 Peter 4:12 says, “Do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.”
How should we respond when suffering sweeps into our lives like a whirlwind? Peter and Carol say there is space for lament. Jesus Himself lamented His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane. But then He got up and faced what was in front of Him.
We all go through seasons when we wish we had been dealt different cards, but eventually, by God’s grace, we have to play the hand we’ve been given.
Peter and Carol Chin are with us on our program “Finding God’s Goodness, Even in Suffering” to talk about the suffering we all endure and the hope that’s found in Christ, no matter our circumstances.
Peter is a pastor and the author of the book Blindsided By God, a memoir about Carol’s journey through cancer and the other challenges they faced.
If you’re struggling and feel like God is no longer in your corner, call us here at Focus on the Family. We have tools and resources to help you, along with a team of counselors. We want to be there for you and to reassure you that God is present in every circumstance in your life.
Our number is 800-A-FAMILY (800-232-6459). In the meantime, I hope you’ll join us for our program on your local radio station, online, or on our free phone app and find out what happened with Carol’s health, their baby, and their relationship with God through their suffering.