I actually wrote the below thoughts in my journal Jan. 2006, but recently I had occasion to share them ...and then I felt lead to post it.
I had trouble sleeping again last night and began thinking upon the things that God has been showing me as I have been reading "When God Weeps".
1) In God’s wisdom and love, every trial in a Christian’s life is ordained from eternity past, custom-made for that believer’s eternal good, even when it doesn’t seem like it. Nothing happens by accident… not even tragedy…not even sins committed against us. Unless the Bible is wrong, nothing happens outside of God’s decree. Nothing good, nothing bad, nothing pleasant, nothing tragic.
2) Every sorrow we taste will one day prove to be the best possible thing that could have happened. We will thank God endlessly in heaven for the trials he sent to us here.
3) Truth is clear according to Acts 9:16; Phil 1:29; 2 Cor 1:5, Acts 14:22; Rom 8:17 (and others)the Christian is called to share in Christ’s sufferings. Simply put- Christians will suffer in this world.
4) Evil can only raise its head where God deliberately backs away – always for reasons that are specific, wise and good, but often hidden during this present life. Satan has to get permission, he operates under constraints. Luke 22:31
My question …BUT WHY?? For what purpose?
Unfortunately we don’t always know why, trusting God must be enough. Each day we go on living means something. God is up to something good when it comes to our trials. There are reasons. For us, for others, for the glory of God, and for the heavenly host. But the best answer we have is “God uses suffering to purge sin from our lives, strengthen our commitment to him, force us to depend on grace, bind us together with other believers, produce discernment, foster sensitivity, discipline our minds, spend our time wisely, stretch our hope, cause us to know Christ better, make us long for truth, lead up to repentance of sin, teach us to give thanks in times of sorrow, increase faith, and strengthen character.” Wow what a beautiful image!
So I need to learn obedience from what I suffer. My circumstances don’t change; but I must. I can not afford to focus on the hammer and chisel that God uses (has used) in my life. I cannot look around me and bemoan what God is chipping away (or has chipped away) regardless of what various trials He has used or is using. I cannot allow my life to be eaten up by focusing on any form of suffering or unpleasant events in my life. All it accomplishes in the end is a dry and bitter soul. I can not expect God to allow me to live a life of total comfort. God is more concerned with conforming me to the likeness of his Son than leaving me in my comfort zone. God is more interested in inward qualities than outward circumstances. Like refining my faith, teaching me to trust, humbling my heart and cleaning up my thought life and strengthening my character.
God is in control. God must be at the center of things, including my heart. God must be in the center of suffering. He must be Daddy. Personal and compassionate, otherwise it makes no sense. It’s important to remember that when I’m suffering…God gives Himself, He is a compassionate Father who embraces me through suffering.
We can either choose to believe truth or walk away from it. God doesn’t just stand idly by and allow things to happen. He is in total control- even in pain and suffering? Can I really embrace that? I have a choice to make- I choose to believe truth. I choose to walk in truth. I choose to embrace truth. I choose to be thankful for that which God has used to chisel away all the “yuck” in my life. I choose to be thankful for everything that God has used to bring about my redemption. I choose to be thankful for all that he does that transforms me into the image of His Son.
I know this is easier said than lived out! But it’s my hearts desire…
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