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Sufferings

One of my favorite passages is Romans 8. 

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”[1]

Wow!  That’s not instruction for how you avoid it.  Cuz you can’t!  Suffering is coming for you.  And we will ALL have a season where we will personally walk through or walk with someone else who is walking through it. 

But not because God is ticked at you.  If it pleases God to send you into a dark valley of affliction, it’s vital that you understand:  God isn’t doing that because you’ve done something to displease Him.  God isn’t going, “Oh, so you’re gonna do that?  Well, then…take that!” 

You know what makes adversity so hard for us?  It’s because adversity comes our way because of God’s mercy, not because of His wrath.  When you struggle— or when someone you love struggles, it’s not God’s anger because you’re such a screw-up!  It’s His mercy. 
The Bible says, “God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation.”[2]  And salvation is only possible because of His mercy.   

So lemme try to make this as clear as I can:  Which would rather have happen to you?  Would you rather God allow you to be healthy and content and make everything about your life absolutely perfect— right up until the moment you die.  Only to stand before the judgment seat of Christ where you are damned into a torturous eternity of punishment with no hope of ever being set free? 

OR…would you rather God give you a thorn in your flesh…?  Maybe you get cancer.  Or maybe you lose your home.  Or maybe you get Alzheimer’s.  Maybe you never get to a place where you are financially secure— but He does these things to show you just how dependent you are on Him. 

Cast in those terms…which of those two options is the most merciful? 

Yeah.

And that’s why, it is NEVER God’s wrath when difficulty erupts in the life of those who are His own.  Whether it’s a physical difficulty, or a relationship difficulty, or a financial difficulty…?  God is using that trial to reveal to you— your desperate need for Him. 

And that’s why…look at this verse: 

“We…glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, Who has been given to us.”[3]

We’ve got a lot to learn, don’t we?  Cuz you and I still believe when everything is good— and my life is way-beyond-wonderful, that’s when…that’s when God is somehow glorified.  And when someone we love will maybe look at our Pleasantville existence, and think:  “Oh, I want that!  I really, really want that!” 

Well, even if they do– what they want is NOT Jesus; what they want is your pretty, little, uninterrupted life. 

But that’s idolatry.  God is not glorified by your big house and by the fact that everyone in it is healthy and wealthy and wise. 

 

 



[1] Romans 8:35-39

[2] I Thessalonian 5:9

[3] Romans 5:3-5

this is an excerpt from Jesus + Nothing=All You Need - Nothing Lacking, for more, please visit thecrossroadsaz.com

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