Yesterday I was privileged to meet with the Village 7 Presbyterian group Women at the Well to present a one-day workshop entitled “God’s Purposes in Trial and Suffering.” After sharing my own story, we studied the topic biblically and experientially.

We began by defining four types of suffering or trial, from direct persecution for proclaiming the gospel to the hurtful actions of others and everything in between.

Then we dissected God’s purposes for suffering, detailing eleven aims or purposes he orchestrates in trial and testing. No list is exhaustive, because God’s ways are often mysterious and beyond our comprehension.

Wrapping up our discussion, we detailed how God rescues us in our trials, enabling our hearts to remain soft and strengthening our dependence on him. He is with us in all our heartache, uses absolutely all things for our good, and promises to one day take us into his presence—the ultimate rescue.

Finally, I discussed my novel Refuge and its message of God’s mercy. Refuge was written to illustrate God’s nearness and pursuit, even when we are the cause of our own heartache. God’s grace enables, helps, and uplifts us even when our own decisions and actions are the source of our suffering.

Our trials come to us in many different ways. It’s a tremendous relief to know that in every one of them, no matter their source, God is present. He knows we are not perfect, and he loves us and helps us in every heartache, illness, or difficulty.

Here are a few pictures from our day of discussion and reflection on God’s purposes in trial and suffering.




It was a joy to meet these Colorado Springs women and to spend the day with them discussing God’s goodness and mercy to us in trial and suffering. At their request, I’m sharing the material here for download.


And to all the women who filled out notecards of messages for me – THANK YOU! Your words greatly blessed me and encouraged me. You truly comforted me as I comforted you. God bless you all!

If any of my readers want to host the “God’s Purposes in Trial and Suffering” workshop at your church or home group, contact me by clicking HERE and filling out a form with your request.