Posted by: Dot McEntire | May 20, 2017

Suffering: My Testimony

In my humble opinion on suffering, I believe we need to keep in mind that every one of us has a different personality, background experiences, biblical knowledge and either much, or minute wisdom (God gives wisdom to every Christian who asked Him, but not every Christian will seek God’s wisdom – some rarely even read their bible). Therefore, just because one verse of scripture is a tremendous help to me during suffering, this same verse may not help another person as much.

Now, we all know God loves each and every one of His children and He plays no favorites. Therefore, because He knows each one of us perfectly, He knows what is the best kind of suffering each of us needs in order to shape us into the person He wants us to be. We also know God allows suffering to come to us to try our faith. God knows how strong our faith is, but God’s angels don’t know nor does Satan and his minions – nor do we even know how strong a faith we have until it’s tested. God also uses our suffering to take our eyes off this world and put them on Him. There are times when we may put ourselves in harm’s way and God allows us to suffer because of our wrong choices. Nevertheless, I believe we all will agree that our “reaction to suffering” is what either hurts us or makes us into a more mature Christian.

I wasn’t a Christian when my mother was murdered by my dad, so my heart immediately filled with hate for him. My husband and I had been married for about seven years and we had four children. I didn’t think about my husband, or our children when I conspired to kill my dad. Throughout the days and nights, I plotted out different ways I could kill him. My dad had mistreated my soft-spoken, humble mother all their married life and when she finally left him, she came to live with my husband and me. She stayed with us for over a year in California before she went back home to Texas – where three months later he shot her four times in the back. So, for me, it was unfathomable to reason out why he would do such a thing!

I nurtured a burning hatred for him and nothing could soften my heart – or give me comfort (not my tenderhearted husband or my precious children). However, her murder did bring me to the point of asking questions about the hereafter (what really happened to “her person” when she was killed?). When a friend of mine talked her missionary brother and her pastor into coming to our home and witness to me, I was angry with her and with them (I believed Christians were weak hypocrites who harshly judged everyone – except themselves). Nevertheless, some of the things the pastor said along with my friend’s brother’s testimony touched my heart. After they left, I thought over all that had been said and God used their witness to soften my heart. God revealed to me that He is real and heaven and hell is real and He wanted to forgive me. I also came to realized that if I didn’t accept God’s truth about Himself and His gift of salvation, I was on my way to hell! At that moment, I asked God to forgive me and to help me forgive my dad. I’ve suffered many other tragedies in my life, but until my husband died in February 2014, my mother’s murder was the worst.

My favorite verse of scripture is Romans 8:28 where God says He works everything around for good to those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose. I started truly believing and living this scripture many years ago after another family tragedy. I thank God I had come to believe Romans 8:28 because I don’t know if I could have lived through another family tragedy without my dear husband and God’s word to work everything around for our good. Here’s how I handled it… I would tell God that in spite of how I felt (bitter and deeply hurt) I was going to trust Him to work the situation around for my good and the good of my family. I kept praying and affirming what I knew was true (but only because it was stated in God’s word). Finally, a few years later, God did turn that tragic situation around for my good and the good of my family.

When my dear husband and best friend in the whole world (other than Jesus) died in February of 2014, there was no way I could have survived it without relying on God’s word. I didn’t feel like living and I didn’t want to enjoy life. I just wanted to go home to be with Jesus and my husband!

To sum it all up… the most important thing I ever did when tragedy came to me was to cling to God’s word in spite of how I felt (I will always cling to Romans 8:28 when tragedy strikes). I thank God that He doesn’t judge me on how I feel – but on what I say and what I do! If I say God’s word is true and it will work out according to His will and I act like it’s the truth… then my feelings eventually line up with what I’m saying and how I’m acting. We can’t always help how we feel – but we are in control of what we say and how we act. I hope and pray my journey to knowing that God certainly does work everything around for our good will be of help to someone else.

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