In light of the suffering we have all been going through since the tragedy of Sept 11th and the destruction of lives at the World Trade Center, I have been praying for God to lead me to anything He would have me share with you. Until today I have been silent and in prayer, as have many others. The greatest thing I see the need for even in my own life is release from the fear. I suspect it is much the same for many others around the world...and in a new way for us in this protected land. I would like to share with you those things the Lord has sent to calm my fears and to give me hope for the future.
Frequent questions we hear now have a common theme :
"Why did God let this happen?
Where was He?
Why does God allow suffering?"
How do we get out of this dark tunnel of confusion?
To find our way safely out of the darkness, we need
One beam of light comes as we remember that God is not the creator of evil and suffering.
Genesis 1:31 (NIV)
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
Where did evil come from, then? It came as a result of the free will God gave mankind . The greatest value is LOVE and without free will, there can be no choice and thus, no real love. We as humans have all abused it. and consequently rejected Him.
In our world are two kinds of evil:
This is the evil we bring into our own lives by choosing to go against Him: selfishness, greed, rebellion etc..
Romans 3:23 (NIV)
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
These are phenomenon : earthquakes,tornadoes, etc. These are also a result of our sin... before sin entered the world, a perfect garden was prepared for our habitation.
Romans 8:22 (NIV)
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
Our second beam of light is remembering that though suffering is not good, God can use even it to accomplish good.
God uses pain to draw people to Jesus. Suffering leads to repentance - we tend to learn it the hard way.
2 Corinthians 7:10 (NIV)
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
God uses pain to sharpen our character.
Romans 5:3 (NIV)
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
It has been said that vision is hope with a blueprint.
Hebrews 5:8 (NIV)
Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered
God uses pain to lovingly discipline His children for their own good.
It is imperative that we remember that discipline is not the same as punishment
Hebrews 12:10 (NIV)
Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Discipline is done out of love for a positive result. God has the big picture - we do not.
God can accomplish something positive out of the negatives of life
Romans 8:28 (NIV)
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Genesis 50:20 (NIV)
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
God took the very worst thing (Christ's death) to bring about the best thing (resurrection/salvation)
The next beam of light we have is the assurance that the day is coming when suffering will cease and evil will be judged.
The book is not done yet....in the end, we win!
2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
It is because of His love that He has not come back yet... He still gives us time
Another beam of light is that our suffering will pale in comparison to what God has in store for His followers.
2 Corinthians 4:17 (NIV)
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
(Paul had suffered much when He wrote this)
Romans 8:18 (NIV)
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV)
However, as it is written:
Still another beam of light is the knowledge that we decide whether to run bitter or turn to God for peace and courage. We have that choice!
John 16:33 (NIV)
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Psalm 34:18 (NIV)
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
Jesus IS the answer to our suffering. He is right there with us. No matter how deep our darkness, He is deeper still.
Psalm 34:18 (NIV)
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
"Bitterness is like drinking poison waiting for the other guy to die!"
OH, FATHER, HELP US NOT BECOME AFRAID OF WHAT SEEMS TO BE SO DARK...BUT OPEN OUR EYES TO THE LIGHT YOU HAVE GIVEN US! HELP US SEE WHERE YOU ARE WORKING, AND TO NOT BLAME YOU FOR THE EVIL IN OUR WORLD. MAY WE PRAISE YOU FOR TAKING EVEN THE WORST OF OUR PAINS AND TURNING THEM INTO BLESSINGS. PRY OUR HANDS LOOSE OF WHAT WE HOLD TOO DEARLY IN ORDER TO WARD OFF OUR FEARS, AND LEAD US INTO THE PATHS YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR US. WE PRAISE YOU THAT YOU SHARPEN OUR CHARACTER AND DISCIPLINE US BECAUSE OF YOUR LOVE. WE PRAISE YOU THAT YOU ALWAYS HAVE OUR BEST INTERESTS AT HEART- EVEN WHEN WE DO NOT.
WE LOOK FORWARD WITH ANTICIPATION TO THE DAY WHEN ALL SUFFERING WILL CEASE AND WE WILL SEE YOU!!! KEEP OUR HOPE IN YOU THAT WE MAY NOT BECOME BITTER BUT INSTEAD EXPERIENCE YOUR PEACE AND COURAGE!!! OH, LORD, HOW WE PRAISE YOU EVEN IN TIMES OF GREAT PAIN AND SUFFERING FOR YOU ALONE CAN MAKE SENSE OF IT ALL AND DEFEAT THAT EVIL! WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR SON AND HIS SACRIFICE FOR US...MAY WE PROVE FAITHFUL TO HIM IN ALL WE DO!!!!
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