Some of the most spiritual people are also the most afflicted through no fault of their own. Consider Job. Now, here was a man of whom it is written walked uprightly before God, yet God had him go through severe testing. Although, this could be an analogy prompting us to hang in there. It isn’t desirable to go through so much physical and emotional pain. Yet, in the final analysis, we are left with the knowledge that God will do the right thing in the end, and we will be the better for it.
Albeit, there are others like Enoch, Ezekiel or Elijah who were whisked away from the face of the earth to live in eternal bliss, free from worry and pain.
I’ve been going through a severe bout of sciatica. This is the third time I’ve had it in two years. This time was the worse, and it lasted for two months. (Don’t write saying you’ll be praying for me – I have a tongue and a direct line to our Father, and He knows what is ailing me.) I’ve learned over the years that a person can approach God at any time – day or night and at any given moment, and He will answer.
We can come boldly to His throne of grace and He will listen; but if we ask amiss, then you can forget about Him answering the way you want since He is all knowing and knows what’s best for you. Benny Hinn – He’s not.
In grappling for answers, I have to ask, I’m a servant of the living God; why is this happening to me? Where have I gone wrong? Yet, I know that Jesus told us we would go through many trials and tribulations for testing our mettle. (How great it is to know the answers to these profound questions just by reading scripture diligently.)
In the past and the present as well, I’ve experienced many miracles, some more profound than others – some you would find hard to believe. Therefore, I should know better than to question God. If he is still flinging stars out into space, He is omnipotent enough to do anything and could have healed me immediately. God has tested my mettle time and again over the years, and I always come back stronger than before.
Of course, many of our afflictions are self-imposed (can you say guilty?), and much of it is due to breaking God’s laws.
We naturally have a propensity to leave God out of our lives, believing He is too demanding. We want pleasure, ease and full bellies, but where would that leave us? We would become lazy, football- watching, video-game playing – porno-viewing couch potatoes. The thought is repulsive. And the worst part is that we Christians consider this way of life normal and healthy. Wrong.
Some of us are busy, busy, busy carrying our big Bibles, even in a briefcase, to a Bible class we are teaching. Everyone just knows we are holy, especially since we just got our doctorate, but just to impress others. Yet, these are the people who have “a form of godliness but deny the power thereof.”
At this point, I must confess that I’ve encountered God our Father and even heard Him speak, so I don’t have any doubts about what I write. Of course, I can back up what I say with scripture as well.
There are at least three things that bring us to the point of despair; and unless we know scripture, we can never know which is which.
In our trials, we may be asking, do we serve a capricious God? one who, like the Greek gods of old, used human beings as pawns for their own good pleasure? Certainly not! God loves mankind with an undying love that transcends all human thinking – and took it upon Himself to bring all of mankind to Himself. The shame, ridicule and torture were a heavy price paid for our redemption, collectively and individually, all at once.
Secondly, God chastises those He loves. Like a good father, He corrects us according to our failures to try to bring us back in line with good, wholesome living. (Something that hardly exists anymore.) He does this to keep us from self-destruction and damnation like any good human father would do.
Thirdly, we must always remember that we have an adversary in the form of Satan who would seek to destroy us. Thus, we are faced with a dilemma. Is our suffering due to God’s chastising or is it due to Satanic attack? After all, we know that “Satan goes around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.”
Unless we adhere to the word of God and understand the nature of our affliction, we can succumb to anxiety, loneliness and even bitterness toward God. We’ve all seen evidence of this in our friends, neighbors and family members. While some are able to endure a wheelchair for all of life with a calm demeanor, others get angry over the slightest inconvenience. As an overachiever, I was one of them, and patience was not one of my virtues.
Having had bouts with the deceiver (who would have us believe God doesn’t answer prayer anymore), I can’t say that. I’ve been blessed beyond measure when I consider the multitudes of people suffering around the globe and in my own neighborhood. In gratitude, I’m ready to console anyone going through the many forms of affliction and pray for them openly.
A soldier of the cross has self-control, strength of character, and a sound mind. How wonderful to be armed to the teeth with God’s word along with His assurance that “All things work together to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”
However, there is a caveat to the verse. Notice the word “love,” and the second condition, “and are called.” Do you fit the bill?
In the end, all who have received Christ will live forever in eternal bliss.
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