The Bible is chucked full of so many verses which instruct us to give Him thanks and praise at ALL times, and yes my friends, that means even during times of suffering. God is good and never changing, which makes Him worthy of our praise no matter what and in every circumstance.
Did I lose some of you… already?
Please, hear me out and if you’re thinking I must be someone who’s never had to overcome adversity in my life, then I encourage you to take a peak at my stories, friend.
Life isn’t fair and God never said it would be. He did not promise us a life without hardships. Each of us has a story and a cross to bear. The paths of our struggles may be different, but our suffering is ultimately the same; as is love. I believe pain is pain and love is love. It is how we can relate to one another and to Christ. He became a man to insure this for each one of us (and for a few more pretty awesome reasons too, of course!)
As my life has been a constant battle with one misfortune after another it seems, and at times I just want to cry out, “Why God? When will it ever stop? I’m so tired!” I have been reminded of the book of Job once more and so I have been studying it yet, again.
A Dialogue of Poetry…
Job is a good and decent man, very wealthy and always tries his best to avoid the pitfalls of Satan, even though the forces of evil are relentless! Job worships God, but Satan argues that Job is good and only does so, because God has blessed him abundantly. So, Satan challenges God to let him take away all that is good from Job, because he thinks Job will finally curse and blame God.
Guess what ~ God agrees to this test.
But, why would God allow Satan free reign over Jobs life to tempt him in ways that would break most men?
For the same reasons He allowed Jesus. And the same reason He allows you and I to be exposed to evil and tested. God’s greatest gift to mankind is our freewill and God wants us to choose Him over sin. He does not want to force us into a relationship with Him, nor is there any real love in forced praise.
Are You Still With Me Friends…?
So, Satan destroys everything good in Job’s life (he is not to claim his actual life though.) He is stripped of his health, his wealth and his family. Does Job curse God for it, though? Let’s see… Job’s response is (and I love this) ”Naked I came out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return: Lord has given, and Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of Lord.” Now, can you imagine any greater way to defeat your enemies? I can’t help but to smile from ear to ear every time I read this! Satan then goes so far as to enlist the help of Job’s wife as she tempts him with, “Curse God and die!” but Job never does.
In the end, Job’s faith and choice not to blame God enables God to bless him. Job’s health, family and wealth are all restored, and with more abundance than what he started with. How cool is that!
“So, does that mean I should just passively accept all this hardship
and expect I’ll get rich and famous?”
Of course not! Therefore take up the whole armor of God ~ having girded your waist with truth ~ put on the breastplate of righteousness ~ the shield of faith ~ the helmet of salvation ~ and the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:13-17) I do my best to arise for battle everyday, for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities.
And as I’ve said before, it’s not about being a martyr either…
Perhaps suffering is allowed in our lives to purify,
teach and strengthen our souls.
Will we condemn and curse God with bitterness when we are tested in order that we might justify ourselves? Will we allow it to separate us from His love or will it bring us closer to Him and to one another? Here’s another question…
“Would there be a need for God’s blessings or a reason to give praise if it weren’t for our struggles?”
I challenge you to think about this one for a moment. How else might God be able to bless you if you didn’t have a need that He could fill? So many times it has been in my greatest hours of need that He has provided and blessed me generously. Or how often would you really seek Him if it weren’t for your struggles? How often would you praise Him if it weren’t for His blessing you through the hands of others?
Don’t get me wrong ~ I am not grateful for my trials and pain, but I would never change my past (nor, would I wish it upon my worst enemy!) My struggles have only encouraged me into a deeper relationship with God and they continue to fuel my fire for Him. It has also made me into the woman who you are getting to know :) And just like some of you, I’ve thought it possible to drown myself with my own tears and I run the risk of complaining if the door is left open. I can get as emotional about the hardships of my life as I choose to let myself, but I could not have survived thus far, living with that approach or mentality. God, who is my strength and fortress is how I’ve survived it ~ by choosing to hold tight to His perspectives, as best I can, and not to mans.