Saturday, October 15, 2011

Be still and know that I am God ~ Psalm 46:10

When bad things happen, we're quick to get mad at God and blame him for our suffering. We want him to pull us out of our difficult circumstances and make everything all better. And sometimes He does. Other times, He allows us to suffer in order to test our faith, increase our dependency on Him, grow in spiritual maturity through the healing process, and bring Him glory. 

When tragedy strikes us, we have a choice to make right away. Will we cling to our faith, trust God, and praise Him in the midst of our suffering? Or will we blame Him, pull away from Him, and wallow in our emotions? It's in times of suffering that our faith and relationship with God is the most tested. If we were never put in the situation to choose, then God would never know where our hearts really lie with Him (read the story of Job or just verses 1:1-12).

And sometimes He allows bad things to happen because He knows that there is sin, evil and brokenness in the world. We can all relate to each other when it comes to pain and suffering. He wants to work through the bad things to reveal His goodness. He wants people to see the work of His hand in peoples' lives- Instances in which good triumphs over bad. He can use the brokenness in you to help others going through the same circumstances and lead them to Him for their healing. God is our Comforter, Healer, Sanctuary, Shelter, Helper, Advocate, Author of peace, Author and Finisher of our faith, Counselor, Maker and Father (see the names of God).

He is El-Shaddai, the God who is sufficient for all the needs of His people. He is holy, completely good, jealous for your worship, full of love, and a just Judge.

During these times, we must trust and hold fast to the truth that we've learned about Him (Psalm 103:2, Deuteronomy 6:12, 8:11). We must draw closer to him than ever before- spending time in prayer and reading His Word (for we don't live on food alone, but on every word that comes from the Lord). We must remember that everything works out for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). We must think positively and not dwell on the past or on negative thoughts (Philippians 3:13, 4:8). We must continue to praise Him, thank Him and bless His name despite what's going on and how we feel. 

For God is still God in the good and bad. He is still sovereign and in control of everything. He is still good and has a good plan for you. He is still bigger than our problems. We were created to know, love, worship, serve and glorify Him. So we must ask ourselves how can our situation bring glory to God in some way? Then go about doing His will instead of following our own agenda of how we would react and handle the situation (I think of Romans 12:17-19 and 1 Peter 3:9). We must continue to rejoice and lean on the fact that He is our victory and the gift of salvation is still ours. We still have something to sing about! We still have reason to worship and praise Him. He hears our cries and will raise us up again. He is still with you so don't push him away when you need him more than ever (Isaiah 41:10, Deuteronomy 31:8).

After Job's faith in God and his commitment to God's laws were tested, he declared "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord," Job 1:21. He chose to praise God even though he had lost everything, he didn't understand what was going or why, and he was hurting. Job struggled with resentment towards God just as we do in the midsts of inexplainable trials and loss (I think back to after September 11 when everyone was questioning God's existence. Many people turned their anger against God and accused him of abandoning America). For a while, Job refused to believe that his suffering would serve any purpose or teach him anything. He felt that God was treating him unfairly. Eventually, he came to see the pride that had grown in him. He was confident in his own righteousness, not in God's. 

Like Job, we must never forget our desperate need for Him and we must understand that God knows and sees more than we do. No matter how severe our circumstances are, we must never forget that God is listening and he cares about what we're going through. He sees lessons that we can learn through our suffering, the good we can do for others as a result of it, and the emptiness in us that His love can fill. He isn't surprised by what's happened, nor is he lost without a plan. He knows how things will turn out. He will make sure that justice is done and things are made right, even if it's not in the time that we want to see it done. What we can learn from Job is to always maintain our respect for and trust in God. We can also be encouraged by King David who said, "Wait on the Lord. Be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart. Yes, wait on the Lord!" Psalm 27:14.

"I'm forgiven because You were forsaken
I'm accepted, You were condemned
I'm alive and well, Your spirit is within me
Because You died and rose again.

Amazing love, how can it be
That You my King should die for me?
Amazing love, I know it's true
And it's my joy to honor You
In all I do, I honor you.

Jesus you are my King
Yes Jesus, you are my King."

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"Blessed be Your name 
In the land that is plentiful
Where your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name.

Blessed be Your name when i'm found in the desert place
Though i'm walking through the wilderness
Blessed be Your name.

Every blessing you pour out i'll turn back to praise You
When the darkness closes in Lord, still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name when the sun is shining down on me
When the world's all "as it should be"
Blessed be Your name.

Blessed be Your name on the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering, blessed be Your name.

Well, You give and take away
You give and take away
Yet my heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name."

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