From Tears to Triumph

By Tal Haroni

During this season of Lent, I’ve been studying the book of Jeremiah. The king of Babylon had conquered Jerusalem and the people suddenly found themselves in great distress as they were living under foreign rule. I noticed throughout the book that even though Jeremiah warned the people of their sinful behavior, they chose to continue on their path. At a certain point, they found themselves in a desperate situation and asked Jeremiah to seek God on their behalf. Twice they promise to obey the voice of God.

“Let the Lord your God tell us the way in which we should walk and the thing we should do… And they said to Jeremiah, ‘Let the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act according to all the word with which the Lord your God sends you to us. Whether it is good or bad, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God, to whom we are sending you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.'” –  Jeremiah 42:3, 5-6

Jeremiah takes ten days to seek the face of God on behalf of the people. God’s instruction is clear: The people are to remain in Jerusalem, endure the Babylonian conquest, and not go down to Egypt. But in Jeremiah 43, we see that the people chose what they wanted to hear. They didn’t like what Jeremiah had told them or the rebuke from the Lord. They sought validation for their plans. It seemed like submission at first, but in their moment of truth, they chose their own path (Jeremiah 43:2). And why? Because Egypt seemed superficially good, and staying in Israel meant they would have to endure suffering.

Suffering is an inseparable part of our faith. We can (and often very much want to) avoid this suffering. We want to believe that if God is good, we won’t suffer. But that’s not the case. Most of the heroes in the scriptures suffered—Abraham, Moses, David, and others. They all endured immense suffering and tears.

“For if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” – Romans 8:17-18

In those moments filled with tears and suffering, we greatly identify with the Messiah. It is an invitation to submit to the Lord. We reach the limits of our ability and allow the Lord to take control.

“What is sown in tears will be reaped with joy!” – Psalm 126:5

When we talked about it as a community, Youval told us that in times of difficulty, he asks three questions: Does God exist? And if He exists, is He good to me? And if He is good to me, does He also love me? The more we ask these questions, the quicker we answer them, and the more our confidence in the Lord grows, the less we worry about ourselves, and the pain in our hearts diminishes.

Like our muscles, pain after exercise indicates growth. The tearing of the muscle heals, and then there is more strength in the muscle. So too with our faith muscle—suffering and tears tear our hearts, challenge the existing order within us, and reveal our immense need for God. God comes faithfully and works for us because He is good. He complements us in places where we cannot. And our faith muscle grows.

I believe that everything God does in our lives, every place we see His hand at work, serves as a key and testimony for us, from there we can draw faith in challenging moments. The deeper our relationship with God, the more we have to draw faith from in times of trouble.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13

God is there in times of trouble. That’s His promise. Even Yeshua’s death on the cross brought tears and great sorrow, but on the third day, His resurrection brought us life. We can try to tailor His promises to what is comfortable for us, but then we remain within the realm of our strength and abilities. Or, we can learn to believe and rely on Him. To deepen our relationship with Him and experience again and again His goodness and faithfulness.

So, today, I invite you to give God the place He deserves. To surrender your plans and trust Him, even if you suffer, it’s better to suffer according to God’s perfect plan for your life than to not suffer and stray from Him. 

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