Sunday, April 27, 2008

God and the Unfairness and Trials of Life

From the Winning Your Battle series, Rice Broocks talks about taking every thought captive in the inner battles we often attempt to struggle with alone and in secret. All sin is first and foremost inward, appearing as thoughts, then becoming deeply held beliefs and terribly painful emotions which grow and fester in isolation from the godly influences and community of others and God's Word which can replace dark thoughts, beliefs and feelings with the Good News of The Gospel.


What if we do believe in God and his Son, Jesus Christ, yet remain in the midst of trials we can't understand? And what about the times we are trusting in God and difficulties, even disaster strikes? We are tempted to doubt and ask why? We ask, "God, if you are really my safety, why am I in this awful situation? Why do I feel so terrible?"

Helen Rosevere was a British medical missionary in the Congo years ago during an uprising. Her faith was strong and her trust was confident in God, yet she was raped and assaulted and treated brutally. Commenting later, she said, "I must ask myself a question as if it came directly from the Lord. 'Can you thank Me for trusting you with this experience even if I never tell you why?'"

A profound thought. God has trusted each of us with our own set of unfair circumstances and unexplained experiences to deal with. Can we still trust in Him even if He never tell us why?

The secret to responsible trust is acceptance. Acceptance is taking from God's hand absolutely anything He gives, looking into His face in trust and thanksgiving and know that the confinement of the hedge we're in is good and for His glory. Even though what we're enduring may be painful, it's good simply because God Himself is allowing it. Acceptance, and peace, is resting in God's goodness, believing that He has all things under His control---even people who are doing what is wrong. Even wrongdoers.

Christianity is learning to trust Christ, not self. Most people are trying to reach God, find God, even reject God, through their own efforts. But perfect trust is resting all of one's weight on something else, not on self.

We learn to lean on Him as our strength. Proverbs 3:5-6 teaches us to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." In other words, strength comes from proper perspective.

Elton Trueblood put it this way, "Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation."
Strength comes from choosing to fully trust, pray and praise. Our circumstances may not change, but in the process, we change.

Annie Johnson Flint wrote:

Pressed out of measure and pressed to all length;
Pressed so intently it seems beyond strength.
Pressed in body and pressed in soul;
Pressed in the mind till the dark surges roll;
Pressure by foes, pressure by friends;
Pressure on pressure, till life nearly ends.
Pressed into loving the staff and the rod;
Pressed into knowing no helper but God.

Jesus Christ stands at the door. He holds out his hands that are scarred. His feet are pierced, and He bears in His body the marks of death. He says, "I know the pressure you're under. I understand the strain. I know the unfair abuse. But let me offer you some encouragement. Don't be afraid. Look at life through my eyes! Stop letting life intimidate you! Stop running scared and helpless! Trust Me!"
In every one of life's circumstances, it's why we have the gift of Christ's finished work on the Cross and an empty tomb. No one forces us to accept this free gift. But turning to God and His Son Jesus Christ is the greatest transforming gift we will ever accept. Nothing compares in good times and bad. With a relationship with Christ, we can do and bear all things, without it, we can do nothing that really lasts.

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