1st Step in a Proper Response to Suffering

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I have 2 very simple questions - -

  1. Have we come to the point in your lives where God can withdraw ALL of His blessings from us without our trust in Him being affected?
  2. The question becomes Why do we trust God? For what we can get or because of who He is and what He's done.

We must trust in God's sovereignty over every and all occurances in our lives. God is either sovereign over all or not sovereign at all ! I read in the following comment from the chapter on Pain in the book Prayer, Faith and Healingfrom Dr. Richmond in direct response to my theology:

"God is not responsible for it {Pain}, but God will give us strength to help us cope." If our particular view of God is adding to our suffering rather than easing it, we may want to re-examine those beliefs, Dr. Richmond suggests."

God is not responsible for pain??? Then, in Dr. Richmond's mind, He is not sovereign ! I know better...............

"Child of God, never forget this; all that you are suffering of any sort or kind, comes to you from the Divine Hand." Charles Spurgeon

"As long as I trace my pain to accident, my bereavement to mistake, my loss to another's wrong, my discomfort to an enemy, and so on, I am of the earth, earthly...but when I rise to my God and see His hand at work, I grow calm. "Cast thy burden on the Lord" is a precept which it will be easy to practice, when you see that the burden originally came from God. Charles Spurgeon

It seems suffering either moves us closer to God or further away. I've seen both examples in my own family. The key is that suffering should build our trust in His resources, not our own. Cardinal Joseph Bernadine agreed:

"One of the things I have noticed about illness is that it draws you inside yourself. When we are ill, we tend to focus on our own pain and suffering. We may feel sorry for ourselves or become depressed. But by focusing on Jesus' message - that through suffering we empty ourselves and are filled with God's grace and love - we can begin to think of other people and their needs; we become eager to walk with them in their trials. My decision to discuss my cancer openly and honestly has sent a message that when we are ill, we need not close in on ourselves from others. Instead, it is during these times when we need people the most." Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, 1928 - 1996 from Newsweek magazine, November 25, 1996.

As my body continued to weaken due to Muscular Dystrophy, I began to see the worthlessness of relying more and more on my own resources. Why trust in something that is withering away?Yet, that's usually what happens with suffering isn't it - - we become quiet, ashamed and don't want to come in contact with people - - we just don't want to be a burden - so we turn into ourselves and lock others out of our lives!!! God, in His sovereignty, has different plans ....

"The fact that disabled people hang in there does something for Christians. It's not about being an inspiration for others, it more than that.... it's a mystery. God somehow strengthens others by their faithfulness. They may feel like a burden to thers, but God thinks the opposite. He thinks its necessary for others to take care of the disabled... they do more for one's spiritual well being than can be imagined. What's more is that it's all being credited to the disabled person's account, per Phillipians 1:25-26. If the disabled person is alone and does not meet others, they must endure for the purpose of teaching the unseen powers, the rulers, and authorities in the heavenly realms about the powerful and all sustaining Lord (Eph 3:10)." Joni Eareckson Tada

You see, we who have been given suffering from the hand of God have been given a great responsibilty ! His purpose in giving suffering to us is to strengthen our trust in Him.......

"This is God's universal purpose for all Christian suffering - more contentment in God and less satisfaction with self." John Piper

"It is not true to say that God wants to teach us something in our trials. Through every cloud (sorrows and suffering) he brings our way, He wants us to unlearn something. His purpose in using the cloud is to simplify our beliefs until our relationship with Him is exactly like that of a child - a relationship between God and our own souls and where people are but shadows. Is our relationship to God becoming more simple than it ever has been?", Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

We must trust - - - in any and all suffering and difficult situations......we just must simply trust God !!!!. Like Job in the Old Testament, when Job proclaimed in great agony, "Though He slay me, YET WILL I TRUST IN HIM!"

Need to adopt a "trusting God" strategy in every trial?? Try this......

"In times of trouble say, First: He brought me here ; it is by His will I am in this strait place: In that I will rest. Next: He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace in this trial to behave as His child. Then: He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me the lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow. Last: In His good time He can bring me out again - how and when He knows. Say: I am here (1) by God's appointment (2) in His keeping (3) under His training (4) for His time." Andrew Murray

Again I ask : Have we come to the point in your lives where God can withdraw ALL of His blessings from us without our trust in Him being affected?

"Do we not see God at work in our circumstances? Dark times are allowed and come to us through the sovreignty of God. Are we prepared to let God do what He wants with us? Are we prepared to be separated from the outward, evident blessings of God? Until Jesus Christ is truly our Lord, we each have goals of our own which we serve. Our faith is real, but it is not yet permanent. And God is never in a hurry. If we are willing to wait, we will see God pointing out that we have been interested only in his blessings, instead of God Himself." Oswald Chambers

Trust Him - - He is in control !

  • "Real faith is refined in the fires and storms of pain". Eugene Peterson
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