Thursday, March 25, 2010

Challenges In Life

Our oldest two children had birthdays this week.  #21 and 22.  Wow.  Am I that old, really?  I don't feel old.  My mind still feels the same as it always has.

I've had some challenges this week.  I wish we lived a life void of challenges and emotional struggles, but no sense in pretending they don't exist.  Jesus even told us not to be surprised by what life throws at us.  "In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world."

I've been listening to Gayle Evers Bible Study on Revelation.  It's one of my favorites, and I listen to it over and over again.  Last night and this morning while listening, she was talking about suffering - suffering that is God initiated, and suffering that is satan initiated.

Basically she teaches that if you are suffering at the hands of God, He always forewarns you of a sin in your life that you need to repent from or suffer the consequences of that sin.  And sometimes it's not our personal sin, but a collective sin of a nation or peoples, or place we live in.  (Examples: Sodom & Gomorrah; Israel into slavery in Babylon)

If your suffering is satan initiated, it's because satan must have access to us due to our free will and our ability to choose to curse God or trust God through the suffering.  Review Job.  Satan had approached God complaining because God had blessed Job and put a hedge around him and complained that in essence God wasn't giving Job a choice.  So God gave satan some access to Job.  Thankfully, Job did not curse God and in the end, God multiplied his blessings once again.

So, in light of this, I have to think about this week and where my suffering may be coming from.  I picture myself crawling up on God's lap and curling into his arms and asking Him to please protect me, and give healing to our hurts - emotional and physical if needed.  I say I trust God.  I want peace through this storm even though the winds, waves, and thunder crashes around me. This will not go on forever.  I remind God He has promised me that all things work toward good for those who love the Lord.  My suffering will not be in vain.  There is a purpose, a strengthening, a refining, a lesson, a blessing.

In this instance, I will not fly off the handle making demands.  I will not try to smooth over and please everyone involved.   I will not try to hold down the waves and ripples that crash around me encouraging me to give in to the drowning.  I will not suffocate through the gusty wind that stings and takes my breath away.

Instead, I will sit at Jesus' feet. I will wash his feet with my tears and dry them with my hair.  I will lay down at the throne of God.  I will wait.  I will see what God's hands do.  I will not drown.  I will not suffocate.  I will release any demand of my own control over the situation.  For God's plans are better than my own.  His ways are better than my ways.  His thoughts are higher than my thoughts.  He sees the whole picture; I see only a part.  I will wait.  I will watch.  I will see the miracles of God.  I trust in Him.  I will live out that trust right now in this situation.  I will wait.  I will be at peace knowing my God is God of all things and there is nothing that He can't handle and work toward my good.  He is able.  Nothing is impossible for Him.

"But when the kindness and love of God our Savior was shown, he saved us because of his mercy.  It was not because of good deeds we did to be right with him. He saved us through the washing that made us new people through the Holy Spirit.  God poured out richly upon us that Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ our Savior.  Being made right with God by his grace, we could have the hope of receiving the life that never ends.  This teaching is true, and I want you to be sure the people understand these things.  Then those who believe in God will be careful to use their lives for doing good.  These things are good and will help everyone."
~Titus 3:4-8

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