Patricia St. John, who has been described as an ordinary woman with an extraordinary faith, poured out her life ministering to people in the neediest places on our planet. She was in Sudan when war refugees flooded that country. They had suffered terribly and had lost everything, yet those among them who were Christians still gave thanks to God.

Patricia said that she stood one night in a crowded little Sudanese church listening to those uprooted believers singing joyfully. Suddenly a life-changing insight burned its way into her mind. “We would have changed their circumstances,” she said, “but we would not have changed them.” She realized that God “does not always lift people out of the situation. He Himself comes into the situation. . . . He does not pluck them out of the darkness. He becomes the light in the darkness.”

Does Patricia’s insight apply to your life? What if, despite your fervent prayer, God doesn’t see fit to deliver you from terrible circumstances? God’s Word tells us that believers often suffer (Heb. 11:35-38). What then?

God promises to stand by you. He’ll strengthen you and give you the grace to rejoice—even in the face of suffering and loss. That’s real triumph in tragedy.