More Than Conquerors

March 8, 2014

by Maria Fontaine

Quotations of faith and hope in the midst of suffering

Compiled and edited by Maria Fontaine

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, “Why am I here in this life? What does it all mean to me personally?” This is a normal question, especially when we’re going through difficult times.

Of course, we all know that the Lord has placed us here to share His love with others, and that’s our commission. However, when we are faced with our own unique set of experiences that are part of our personal journey, it can sometimes be challenging to find meaning from all the things that come at us. That’s where we run up against brick walls every so often. We need an outside perspective from Someone who can see the full picture when we can’t.

I think that one of the most important things in our life is to draw experience from all the things that come our way. This experience, coupled with God’s counsel, will gain us knowledge and understanding and wisdom in the spirit. There’s no shortcut to growth and maturity.

We have the Answer Man, and He is guiding us in the right directions as we follow Him, but He would be robbing us of the full benefits of this life if He just short-circuited any difficult experiences and took us out of them because they might sometimes be painful or traumatic.

I believe He, in His love for us, knows exactly what experiences we need in order to learn and grow, not just in the moment but also in the bigger picture of eternity. I trust Him when He says that He will not suffer us to be tempted above what we are able to bear. He’s the God of the universe. If anyone knows and can tailor our life to enable us to gain the most from our experiences, He can. It’s a sure thing that He is going to know what is needed a lot better than me with my tiny, finite perspective on what I’m facing.

As you read through these beautiful thoughts, messages from Jesus as well as writings of men and women of faith, I hope they will inspire, uplift, and be a blessing and encouragement to you and anyone you feel led to share them with.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”[1]

In answering the question Why me? one must feel and understand that the circumstances of life may be beyond our control. But when it comes to what to do about the situation in which we find ourselves, we frequently have a good deal of control. Life is like a game of cards in which we have no say over the hand dealt us. We do, however, have control over how we play the hand. There’s no point blaming the dealer for a bad hand. The trick is to play it with all the skill and determination at our command. That is taking responsibility.—Pesach Krauss

The things we try to avoid and fight against—tribulation, suffering and persecution—are the very things that produce abundant joy in us. Huge waves that would frighten the ordinary swimmer produce a tremendous thrill for the surfer who has ridden them. “We are more than conquerors through Him” in all these things—not in spite of them, but in the midst of them. A saint doesn’t know the joy of the Lord in spite of tribulation, but because of it.—Oswald Chambers

This is the secret of joy. We shall no longer strive for our own way; but commit ourselves, easily and simply, to God’s way, acquiesce in His will, and in so doing find our peace.—Evelyn Underhill

“The joy of the Lord is your strength.”[2]

Self-pity is our worst enemy, and if we yield to it, we can never do anything good in the world.—Helen Keller

One of the things I have noticed about illness is that it draws you inside yourself. When we are ill, we tend to focus on our own pain and suffering. We may feel sorry for ourselves or become depressed. But by focusing on Jesus’ message—that through suffering we empty ourselves and are filled with God’s grace and love—we can begin to think of other people and their needs; we become eager to walk with them in their trials. My decision to discuss my cancer openly and honestly has sent a message that when we are ill, we need not close in on ourselves from others. Instead, it is during these times when we need people the most.—Cardinal Joseph Bernardin

Suffering is inevitable; misery is an option.—Tom Blossom

God loves you enough, trusts you enough, to let affliction come into your life to see whether you will exercise the muscles of faith while your physical muscles begin to atrophy.—Rev. John Howe

Come to Me with your burdens and battles and place them all on My shoulders. Let Me soothe your fears and wipe away your tears and instill in you My never-ending promise that you are My child and I will never leave you nor forsake you.—Jesus, speaking in prophecy

Adversity often produces an unexpected opportunity. Look for it! Appreciate and utilize it! This is difficult to do if you’re feeling sorry for yourself because you’re faced with adversity.—John Wooden

When sorrow comes, we have no right to ask “Why did this happen to me?” unless we ask the same question when joy comes our way.—Irene Bargmann

I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness, and the willingness to remain vulnerable.—Joseph Addison

Christ was willing to suffer and be despised, and darest thou complain of anything?—Thomas à Kempis

Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it to glory.—William Barclay

As a saint of God my attitude toward sorrow and difficulty should not be to ask that it be prevented, but to ask that God protect me so that I may remain [or become] what He created me to be, in spite of all my fires of sorrow.—Oswald Chambers

If a bird is flying for pleasure it flies with the wind, but if it meets danger, it turns and faces the wind, in order that it may rise higher.—Corrie ten Boom

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.—Eleanor Roosevelt

There are as many reasons as there are people and circumstances for why I allow you to be so sorely tested. But though the reasons vary greatly, one thing you can all have in common is your attitude toward those battles and difficulties you face, the perspective you choose to keep toward them. Battles are par for the course of life. Accept that understanding graciously, nobly, and with a spirit of faith and belief in My many promises to you—that I do not give you more than you are able to bear, and that whatever you forsake here will be returned to you a hundredfold.—Jesus, speaking in prophecy

Paul reckoned his great trial to be a gift. It is well put. He does not say, “there was inflicted on me a thorn in the flesh”, but “there was given to me”.[3] This is holy reckoning. Child of God, among all the goods of your house, you have not one single article that is a better token of divine love to you than your daily cross.—Charles Spurgeon

Joy and patience are far above our strength. We must persevere in prayer that He may not permit our hearts to faint. Prayer and perseverance are necessary in our daily conflicts. The best remedy to the weariness is diligence in prayer.—John Calvin

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.—Helen Keller

We can experience joy in adverse circumstances by holding God's benefits in such esteem that the recognition of them and meditation upon them shall overcome all sorrow.—John Calvin

I miss my wife in numberless ways and shall miss her yet more and more, but as a child of God and as a servant of the Lord Jesus I bow. I’m satisfied with the will of my heavenly father. I seek by submission to his will to glorify him and kiss continually the hand that has thus afflicted me.—George Mueller

I believe that pain and suffering can either be a prison or a prism.—Tim Hansel

A wounded spirit sees only the pain, the apparent inability to overcome, the sorrow and loss. It is so focused on the mud that it no longer sees the stars. You have to regain your focus on what is truly real, on Me, on the promise that I will never leave nor forsake you and that nothing can ever separate you from My love.—Jesus, speaking in prophecy

The apostle Paul said, “I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.”[4]

Never fear shadows. They simply mean there’s a light shining somewhere nearby.—Ruth E. Renkel

How happy a person is depends upon the depth of his gratitude.—John Miller

The true Christian reaction to suffering and sorrow is not the attitude of self-pity, fatalism or resentment; it is the spirit which takes life’s difficulties as a God-given opportunity, and regards its troubles as a sacred trust, and wears the thorns as a crown.—James Stewart

Godly people ... nobly endure hard things. They know that their existence is meaningful and that they are destined for unlimited pleasure at the deepest level in heaven. Because they keenly feel that nothing now quite meets the standards of their longing souls, the quiet but deeply throbbing ache within them drives them not to complaint, but to anticipation and further yieldedness.—Larry Crabb

Once you see your affliction as a preparation to meet God, you won't be quick to call it suffering again. Even though I have rough moments in my wheelchair, for the most part I consider my paralysis a gift. Just as Jesus exchanged the meaning of the Cross from a symbol of torture to one of hope and salvation, He gives me the grace to do the same with my chair. If a cross can become a blessing, so can a wheelchair. The wheelchair, in a sense, is behind me now. The despair is over. There are now other crosses to bear, other “wheelchairs” in my life to be exchanged into gifts.—Joni Eareckson Tada

The world is sown with good; but unless I turn my glad thoughts into practical living and till my own field, I cannot reap a kernel of good.—Helen Keller

Where do saints get their joy? If we did not know some Christians well, we might think from just observing them that they have no burdens at all to bear. But we must lift the veil from our eyes. The fact that the peace, light and joy of God is in them is proof that a burden is there as well. The burden that God places on us squeezes the grapes in our lives and produces wine, but most of us only see the wine and not the burden. No power on earth or in hell can conquer the Spirit of God living within the living spirit; it creates an inner invincibility. If your life is only producing a whine and not a wine, then ruthlessly kick out [the whine]. It is definitely a crime for a Christian to be weak in God's strength.—Oswald Chambers

Thanksgiving should characterize God's people at all times: “In everything, give thanks.”[5] What does it mean to give thanks in all things? One thing it surely does not mean is that we should be thankful for all things. The command is not “be thankful for all things,” but “be thankful in all things.” We are not expected to thank God for the horrors of life. There are legitimate behaviors, circumstances, and attitudes that should repulse us. Though we can’t be thankful for all things, we can be thankful in the midst of all things. How can this be? Gratitude looks underneath the surface. Gratitude is not simply a form of “positive thinking” or a technique of “happy-ology,” but rather a deep and abiding recognition and acknowledgment that goodness exists under even the worst that life offers.—Rich Vincent

[1]Romans 8:35–37 ESV.

[2] Nehemiah 8:10.

[3] 2 Corinthians 12:7 KJV.

[4] 2 Corinthians 7:4 NKJV.

[5] 1 Thessalonians 5:18.