“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy” (Psalm 103:8). When we do fail Him, we naturally think He is angry and ready to pour down judgment on us, many times because of our experience with human beings. Humans do not tend to be slow to anger, and they do not necessarily abound in mercy. But do not confuse the two. God overflows with mercy and is ready to guide us through our mistakes. All we need to do is feel true sorrow for what we have done and apologize, and He will treat us with kindness and grace.
God does not get pleasure out of our trials. In Lamentations 3:33, God tells us, “For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.” His word tells us that He does allow us to go through trials, as we see in Psalm 66, starting in verse 10, “For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.” The psalmist here testifies to all of us that even though God’s people have to go through some very difficult trials, the results made it worth it. When it was over, he could testify that it resulted in a wealthy place. Hold onto that concept. Expect it. Wait for it.
He sometimes allows Satan to afflict us, but only for a good reason. We can see in Job chapter 2, verse 7 that it was Satan who struck Job with the painful boils he experienced. We also see that God did allow it, because in verse 6 he gave the devil permission with one condition; that Job’s life would be spared (“And the LORD said unto Satan, ‘Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.'”). When we look at Acts chapter 10, verse 38, we see that Jesus healed “all that were oppressed by the devil.” This signifies that some illness is directly from Satan.
But even when God is allowing this, it is not because He is angry with us. He has a purpose in mind, but He will still be with us every step of the way. Isaiah 43:2 tells us, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”
The psalmist tells us in Psalm 103:13, ” Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.” In this verse, the word “pitieth” is the Hebrew word racham, which means to love, to have compassion on, to fondle. Scripture is saying here that the Lord loves you. He has compassion on you and wants to caress you and cuddle you. He knows every heartache you have and all the feelings you are going through. He wants to put His arms around you and hold you as you are going through this great trial. You are His child, and He will not desert you. When I am in terrible pain and can do nothing but lie in bed, I picture myself curled up in God’s great powerful hand where I am protected from everything. He is holding me and comforting me in that time, and I know He cares.