In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33
There sure is a lot of trouble in this world, isn’t there? You have a fight, you lose your job, the doctor gives you a grim diagnosis, someone you love gets hurt or killed, and on and on. And sometimes it doesn’t seem to matter if you prayed or not, because you still get hurt. Christians know that God is sovereign, good, wise, and loving. If you have been walking with God for a while, it might not seem too difficult to withstand the little things. But what do we do with the pain and tornadic emotions when the worst happens? Why would our loving Father allow us to go through this?
If you’ve been following here, you know what I’ve been dealing with lately. And as much of a Bible study nut that I am, I have been so depressed that I cannot even read my Bible. But I did turn on the radio and just lay there listening to messages. One of the good things about listening to LOTS of Bible teachers is that it gives God ample opportunity to speak audibly to you with the words you need to hear.
This week I have heard many pieces of information about suffering and pain – for us and what Jesus experienced. One pastor talked about Is 53 where Jesus is called a “man of suffering.” I think there is something in that, especially when put with Rom 8:17. Need to study that further sometime.
But, here is the good part – yesterday I listened to a Charles Stanley podcast entitled, “God’s Purpose.” In it, Dr. Stanley gives five basic reasons why God allows *or brings* the storms of life:
- Cleansing – God uses the storms to sanctify us
- Companionship – Pain and suffering drives us closer to God
- Conformity – Trials are necessary to conform us into the image of Christ
- Conviction – What we believe about God is tested during hardship. Do you really and truly believe that God is sovereign, good, wise, loving, ever-present and will provide for all your needs, even at this painful time? Trials reveal the depth of your faith and the faithfulness of God.
- Comfort – 2Cor1:3-4 – In comforting us through our troubles, God equips us to comfort others in their sufferings.
Dr. Stanley had more helpful insights in that great message, I highly recommend you listen to the it. Find it on his audio archives page under the broadcast date October 12-13, 2010.
Okay, so God has a purpose. But when I am in tremendous pain, sometimes I feel like saying, “I don’t want to hurt anymore. I am sorry, God, but I don’t care if you can use this to bring me closer to you or to help others, I just want the pain to stop now.” What do you do with that? – The diffcuilt lesson I have learned (in my head at least) is that if I am addicted to comfort at all costs, that is my will, not God’s, and I will never have peace or be satisfied. The only way to find true fulfillment, and fill that longing deep inside, is to completely abandon yourself to God. That means valuing his faithful presence with you more than your earthly comfort. And while I am not very good at that yet, God has made a lot of progress in me, especially this past two weeks.
God is LORD of all, in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, forever. Praise You, Lord.