People and life in general can treat us in all sorts of ways that the Bible would call bitter. Yet, the Word of God has a very rich and robust theology of suffering to help us respond well to bitter circumstances. Often, we are told, by well-meaning people, to simply apply the words of Philippians 4:4 (“Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice”) to those things, and move one with our lives. The problem is that this ignores the great portions of Scripture that help us process pain and hurt. Being unable or unwilling to speak in the right way, at the right time, to the right people about the bitter circumstances of life is not an antidote but an accelerant to gaining a bitter heart and life. How we handle bitter circumstances will either lead to or prevent a bitter response in both the inner and outer person. If we simply ignore, hurt, pain, or disappointment, we may not see the visible logjam of bitter words and actions. That unaddressed sadness, hurt, and grief will be like a silt that builds up over time. We must find a way to dig down and dredge out that silt and debris and make the river flow clearly and deeply again. We must learn to face the reality of bitterness, and learn to suffer well so that our response to bitter circumstances take us in directions that honor the Lord. We must understand that while having a relationship with Christ will not remove the bitter circumstances and people in life. We must understand that it is almost impossible to battle and overcome bitterness and bitter circumstances unless we have a walk with
Christ. It is that relationship, that guarantees the power of the Holy Spirit to aid us in overcoming the natural tendencies to react to the events and people around us. It is that power that brings us into the peace of God, which enables us to find purpose in the circumstances. Begin today by learning to rest in the power and presence of the Lord, and find hope in the leading and direction of our gracious and wonderful Lord.