Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"My brothers and sisters, when you have many kinds of troubles, you should be full of joy, because you know that these troubles test your faith, and this will give you patience. Let your patience show itself perfectly in what you do. Then you will be perfect and complete and will have everything you need." - James 1:2-4. When a potter bakes a pot, he checks its solidity by pulling it out of the oven and thumping it. If it "sings" it's ready. If it "thuds," it's placed back in the oven. The character of a person is also checked by thumping. "It doesn't matter, really, how great the pressure is; it only matters where the pressure lies. See that it never comes between you and the Lord - then, the greater the pressure, the more it presses you to Himself..." - J. Hudson Taylor. How it must deeply wound God when we blame Him for our suffering and even turn away from Him. Yes, He allows it, for our good. Many times we unknowingly welcome it by choices we make, compromises, sin, and so on. As a parent I get a glimpse of how it might feel to God. When my child has to face appropriate consequences for a bad choice made that I might have even warned him about, I hurt with him. I want to remove the consequence. My immense love for the child stops me. Love doesn't give the child what he wants, Love gives him what he needs. God loves me so much he gives me what I need. He hurts with me and maybe even more. The consequences can help make me a better person. They can help me learn that I don't want to partake in that sin, again. There are so many degrees of suffering. It may have nothing to do with anything I've done. Who am I to question God? We have been warned that we have an enemy in this world who goes around like a lion looking for someone to devour. He comes to kill, steal, and destroy. Satan would be delighted for us to turn from the very one who can help us during our trials. This life is hard at times and I don't want anyone or anything to keep me from the one who leads me on paths that are right for the good of His name. Elisabeth Elliot once said something like this, "suffering is a gift entrusted to us by the Lord Jesus." He is counting on me. He knows I can do it. The least I can do is suffer a little bit for God after all He has done for me. Shame on me for complaining! My reward will be in heaven. There is so much more that can be said but I have children creating in the kitchen who beckon me. "I know God is on my side."- Psalm 56:9b NCV.

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