Aside from some of the other things I dabble in, I also run a Facebook page supporting awareness of childhood cancers. When I saw this post today it set me back and made me truly reflect on my own faith and inner strength. At the end of the day I can turn off my computer and retreat to the den. Or I can go crawl into bed and leave reality. But the daily struggles that parents of children with cancers face is their reality. This post was very humbling. I invite you to read her story, then visit and “LIKE” their Facebook page, Pray for Grey – The Journey Continues
I’ve stepped away from this page for a while, searching my own heart, seeking God and trying to make sense of life in general. I am human, I am weak and my faith falters at times. It has always been my desire to keep this page positive, uplifting, encouraging and hope filled… but in doing so, I sometimes wonder if I have created a false view of who I am as a person and as a mother to a child with such huge health challenges.
Our life is filled with ups and downs, strengths and weaknesses, rejoicing and heartache, trust and fear… It is a roller coaster ride of emotions that one cannot fully understand until they have walked this road themselves. Faith is built up and torn down, sometimes prayers seem to fade into the distance and silence seems to be their answer.
It is amazing how loud and overwhelming silence can be when that silence seems to be coming from the God in whom we believe and trust. Have you been there? Have you ever felt that God had walked away for a while… taken a stroll when you needed Him most? Have you ever looked up and asked, “Where are You and what on earth are You doing?”
When we find ourselves drowning in adversity or overwhelmed with heartache and brokenness, it is human nature to desire… no… to demand answers as to our sufferings.
When it comes to heartache and suffering there is no greater example than the man, Job. He had everything… God’s blessings had been upon him and he prospered immensely. But one day events unraveled and all that Job had was taken from him; all of his possessions, all of his livestock, all of his servants, all of his children… and then, even his own health. In his suffering, his friends accused him of wrong doing and turned away from him.
Who would have blamed Job for crying out in anger against the God that he had loved and served? After all… what kind of loving God would allow such heartache to fall upon one who had served Him so devoutly?
How many times I have heard this question posed… “What kind of God”… or “Where is God when…” It is Satan’s snare to trip us when we are weakened emotionally and spiritually… when life has beaten us down and we find ourselves worn and completely overwhelmed and we are at our most vulnerable… It is then that the enemy attacks and places doubts and questions in our minds and hearts.
This snare trapped Job’s wife. In the book of Job, chapter 2 and verse 9 His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” I can imagine that Satan was never so close to a smile than at that moment as he leaned in to hear Job’s reply, confident that Job would fall to his wife’s words and his current circumstances. Everything hung on Job’s reply to his wife.
Job’s reply is both magnificent and astounding. Job 2:10 records Job’s words… “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks”.
I’m certain that is not the reply she was expecting. How magnificent and inspiring that even in all of his misery and brokenness, as he sat there covered in sores not knowing if his life would ever change, Job stood firm and even posed a question back to his wife. “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity”?
Isn’t that our way? Every single day there are blessings in our lives. Some are huge and we cannot deny them, others must be sought out, but they are there. But how easily we accept those blessings, and even feel entitled to them or we credit ourselves for their existence… but the very second something doesn’t go our way we begin the blame game with God.
“Why? Why me? I live a good life; I go to church, tithe, I give to the poor, feed the hungry, care for sick children, help the elderly, and protect the animals; donate to a worthy cause… I’m a good person… I don’t deserve this!
But Job acknowledged that he served a God who had every right to do whatever He wanted to do, to allow whatever He needed to allow without obligation of explanation. Notice… I said ALLOW. I do not believe God to be the author of pain and suffering… these things come from Satan, but they are ALLOWED into our lives to shape us, mold us, grow us, restore us and even break us for the glory of God. God has no obligation to step into a hospital room and say, “Now let me offer you five reasons why this has happened to your son.” God is full of compassion and His heart breaks with ours as we face adversities, but His plan is beyond our comprehension.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”. Isaiah 55:8-9
So we say, with Job, “God… I trust you. I don’t begin to know why I am going through this. But You see me, You know me, You know this hurt and Your heart breaks with mine. If I must walk this road, if there is something that I can learn, reveal it to me. If there is something someone else can learn, help me be what they need even in my brokenness. Lord, I give this to You, just get me through it. Hold me close. Deepen me. Change me and restore me”.
Job knew God was God, and that someday all that was mystery would be revealed. When we leave this life for eternity and we step into God’s presence… for the first time we will be given the panoramic view… We will see from beginning to end and then (and not until then) we will respond, “So THAT’S the reason! Now I get it!”
God is totally and completely and absolutely in control.
If you lose every single member of your family, He is in control.
If your marriage crumbles and you find yourself alone, He is in control.
If you finances crash and lead you into bankruptcy, He is in control.
If the test results are not what you had prayed for and things could not be worse, God is in control.
There is a greater plan behind it all. One day, that plan will be revealed and we will see beyond the pain and suffering and find purpose. How absolutely amazing and magnificent to see those who choose to trust Him to the very end of this vale of suffering saying;
“May His name be praised… I don’t understand it. I can’t explain it. Nevertheless, may His name be praised.”
May God enable us to raise our faith to such heights.
Covered in grace,
Why Bad Things Happen
Since the beginning of Christianity the question has been raised, “Why does God let bad things happen?” That is a question that probably gets used most by non-believers that want to point out that if God was as powerful as we say he is these events wouldn’t happen. However, the question gets asked by practicing Christians as well, especially when those bad things happen to them.
I am no Theologian and don’t pretend to be. But I do have a relationship with God and an inquisitive side that says “I just need to know” about a lot of things. If you will bear with me I will try and answer that question with biblical reference as well as my own insights into the question, “Why do bad things happen?”
You need to know that not all bad things that happen to you are caused by you. Some are, but not all. We need to look at it in an analytical perspective:
(1) The things we cannot control
(a) Natural Disasters
(c) Someone else’s choices
(2) The things we can control
(a) Control the quality of life by living healthier
(b) Make good choices about what we do with our bodies
(c) Stay away from places that put our lives at risks
A couple of months ago I had an opportunity to speak to you about “Living in the moment”. We talked about how short life is and how microcosmically small everything is in comparison to God. We all had to wrap our heads with duct tape after that one to keep our heads from exploding. But let’s revisit that point for a moment and look at it in a little different light.
In the realm of time and existence we are only here for a second, just a brief flash in the history of this world. Yet, we invest so much into this life here that it becomes our obsession, our focus, our main goal. Thus everything that happens to us, good or bad, becomes our universe. And we rave about the good, dwell on the bad, and before we know it our time here is done.
Now, picture if you will a place where we never disagree with anyone. A place where there are no car accidents, cancer, murders, drugs, thefts, sexual assault, war, genocide, diseases of any kind, hunger, and anything else bad that you can think of. Sounds like Heaven.
Job Chapter 1:6-12
Job’s First Test
6 One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. 7 The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.”
8 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
12 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”
Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
A couple of weeks ago Greg spoke on Angels and Demons. He mentioned that in the book of Job it said that Satan ascended with the Angels and was there talking with God. Satan is often described as “The Great Adversary” because he is constantly out to turn Gods people away from him.
So here we are, Satan and God having a conversation. God begins to tell him about his awesome servant Job. So Satan, being the conniving con artist that he is decides to try and play God, and get him to challenge Job’s faith. God tells Satan, “I tell you what, do what you want, but don’t lay a finger on Job personally.” That was of course so that he would endure the suffering and test his Faith. Satan’s goal was and still is to break the bond between humankind and God.
So as you read on through Chapter 1 you see that Job was tested by losing his livestock, his children, and his servants through horrible means. As he heard the news of these things the bible says in Job 1:20-22
“Job got up and tore his robe, and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in Worship and said:
Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
May the name of the Lord be praised.”
In all this Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”
Through chapter 2 we see where Job is attacked physically by Satan with huge sores and affliction. Yet he wouldn’t deny God. Even when his three friends came over and began encouraging him to curse the Lord he would not.
Job was a good man. Why did these things happen to him? Because, even then he was living in a fallen world.
Point (1) – We live in a fallen world
There is illness, violence, anger, hunger, and selfishness here in this world. So much so that even if we make every choice in our lives correctly the plague of these things still appears in our lives.
Satan did not stop with Job. He continues on today challenging us in our faith.
Bad things don’t just happen to the good people.
Point (2) – Bad things happen!
How do you handle someone we see as a bad person ? –
43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect
Could it be that God loves the least of these?
Point (3) – God Loves even the Least of these
Does he really love and care about all sinners? I hope so.
Point (4) – We are all sinners.
I realize how burdensome adversity may be. I don’t mean to oversimplify hardship or offer some half shod quick and easy answer to what you are facing. Instead I want you to understand God’s purpose for allowing difficulty in the lives of his children – namely to advance their spiritual growth. It is within context of this principle that Paul was able to say:
“All things happen for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
This is a conditional promise. For the person who doesn’t care about spiritual growth or a relationship with the Lord, there’s no guarantee that all things will work for good. After all, “good” may refer to character development or a faith lesson that results from adversity –someone who does not love God or care to know him probably wouldn’t consider such benefits positive. But the Lord values these things far more than wealth, prominence, heath, and many other blessings we cherish.
Rom.8:28 does not promise that a believer who loses his job will get a better one. The blessing may lie in coming to a greater understanding of what it means to trust God daily.
Bad things exist
We cannot live in fear of bad things. Bad things have existed since Adam and Eve shared a bite of an apple in the Garden of Eden. Their choice forever impacted the lives of all humanity. Each and every one of us has sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. We must stand strong in our faith in God. We must realize that if we do that for our short time here, an eternity in a place where there are no bad things will be our reward.
The bible gives us plenty of reasons to believe that the Father could erase all difficulty from our lives with just a word. Bu experience tells us that he chooses not to work that way. God is in the process of teaching believers about his faithfulness, goodness, compassion, and holiness. From his perspective, our spiritual growth is more important than our ease, comfort, or pleasure. The Lord allows adversity in our lives to teach us how to rely on him. We won’t necessarily welcome difficult times. But if we understand why God permits trying circumstances, we can face trouble with the assurance of His love and mercy.
So praise God. Get your lives in order. Live the best life you can in the brief moments we are here on this earth. Serve God, stay in his Word, and make it a priority to praise him for the little things every day of your life.
When the bad comes, and it will, be comforted in knowing that God loves you and you will find him waiting there for you.