Suffering and PrayerI have this friend. She loves softball, soccer, golf, football… really anything involving a ball and competition. She loves to be outdoors and moving. She has big dreams and wants to help vulnerable people in radical ways. She is fierce and she loves Jesus.

She is also suffering.

She has multiple physical obstacles stacked against her and has been fighting them for over 10 years. Most days there is no way she’s going to run on a soccer field or hike up a mountain. Most days, you won’t see her on the back nine or making a field goal.

But …

Most days you will find her praying.

Suffering is teaching her how to lean into Jesus. Hardship and physical pain give her a unique perspective of just how faithful and mighty God is. He has become her Sustainer.

Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises.

~ James 5:13 NLT

I love that James starts this passage out with suffering first, “Are any of you suffering? You should pray…” and then moves on to, “Are any of you happy? You should sing praises.”

It’s almost as if we really learn to look to Jesus through suffering first. Prayer becomes a lifeline, and the only way we get through the day. So that when happiness comes, we’ve made such a habit of looking to him in our circumstances that the praise of our hearts toward Heaven is a natural response to His goodness.

My sweet friend is learning that by praying in response to her suffering, she is acknowledging that God is sufficient – He is all she needs.

And by praising him in times of joy (despite suffering), she is demonstrating that He is sovereign in her circumstances – He has a plan that is good.

Are you suffering? Pray.

Are you happy? Pray.

Look to Jesus, He will meet you there.

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