Because God loves you, he will work to cleanse you, but it is a loving chastening upon those who repent and return to him. You may feel God’s arrows in your soul because of your past and present sins, but if you have a repentant heart and want to turn from error, you can call upon his chastening love. You will not feel his wrath as the heathens do but rather the rod of his discipline, applied by his loving hand.

When you know you have arrived at your lowest point, it is time to seek the Lord in brokenness, repentance and faith.

When you cry out to God, he pours his strength into you. “In the day when I cried out, you answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul…. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you will revive me; you will stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand will save me. The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; do not forsake the works of your hands” (Psalm 138:3, 7–8, NKJV).

One of the most difficult things for Christians to accept is the suffering of the righteous. There is an erroneous doctrine that says if you are in agreement with God, you will never suffer. It claims, “Just call out to God, and he will come running and solve everything immediately.” This is not the gospel! The heroes of faith listed in Hebrews 11 all had close relationships with God, and they suffered mocking, torture and violent deaths (see Hebrews 11:36–38). Paul himself, who walked closely with God, was shipwrecked, stoned, whipped, left for dead, robbed, jailed and persecuted. He suffered the loss of all things.

God wants to plant something in our hearts through our trials. He wants us to be able to say, “Lord Jesus, I believe you rule over the events of my life. If anything happens to me, it’s only because you allowed it, and I trust your purpose in doing it. Help me understand the lesson you want me to learn from it. If I walk in righteousness and have your joy in my heart, my living and dying will bring glory to you. I will say, ‘Jesus, whether I live or die, I am yours!’”