Tag Archives: Suffering

Questioning God???

“Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be in the right? [Job 40:7-8]

In chapter 38 of the book of Job; God speaks. For 35 chapters, Job and his three friends have been talking about God, but they all got God wrong. In chapter 2 we are told that Job did not sin with his lips following his suffering that God allowed Satan to inflict on Job,but Job still does not understand God.

Who does?
[You better not say that you do.]

These verses from chapter 40 almost make me nervous; as do God’s words from chapters 38-41. I can almost hear God speaking to me in those times when I am tempted to blame God or question God’s judgement.

But…

who am I to say that God is in the wrong?
who am I to question God’s judgement?
who am I to doubt God’s wisdom?
who am I to call into question God’s sovereignty?

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.” (Job 38:4)

The fact of the matter is that you don’t have understanding; no one does. The mysteries of this world are meant to be mysteries. The ways of God are higher than our ways and we aren’t meant to know them. The thoughts of God are higher than our thoughts and we aren’t meant to know them. We are not meant to see and know the whole picture. If God were to show you the WHOLE picture I think your brain would explode in a gruesome mess (sorry for the image but I think you get my point).

Job’s testing was meant to bring about God’s glory, and it did. Job passed the test. God won the bet with Satan. Why God allowed Job to suffer we can only postulate (and I will be careful here since I don’t want to be questioned like Job was). But Job’s suffering was only for a moment especially considering the grand scheme of God’s design. Job was blessed even more so following this episode and I can only imagine Job’s reward in heaven.

When God doesn’t make sense;
when God frustrates you;
when God seems to be utterly random…

…run to Him. Run into his loving arms and trust Him. Trust that God knows what He is doing and that God’s higher ways will bring about His glory and eventual yours.

God doesn’t make sense now, but that’s OK, because through Jesus Christ you can have the faith that everything will make sense later on. And who knows, in heaven someday we might even be able to laugh about our suffering when we consider how untrusting and unfaithful we were then.

Who knows?
God does, and that’s good enough for me 🙂

Praise be to God and Amen!

The Pastor -|—

Prayer of healing and blessing

Oh God of mercy,

I praise you that we are wonderfully made by your caring hands. You knit us together and formed us in the womb. You created each of your beloved children into your very own imagine; unique but the same in relation from we came.

But I also echo the psalmist’s prayer when he says, When I look at your heavens, the works of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? I echo this prayer and wonder who am I that you would listen to the ramblings of this tiny human.

Who am I?
I am your beloved child.

And so I appeal to you, Creator God; Father God; Holy God…

Have mercy and bring healing (if I may be so bold to pray).

We live in bodies that are frail and weak and vulnerable. Not by your poor design but because we live in a fallen world of sin and are fallen creatures ourselves. We are very much susceptible to illness and disease. Germs and viruses and bacteria attack these bodies. And this vulnerability causes much pain and suffering; worry and anxiety.

But even though I am sinful, I humbly come before you to seek your blessing for those who are hurting and for their caregivers:
~ Bless parents as they care for sick children.
~ Bless children as they care for elderly parents.
~ Bless those who are sick and yet called to raise children.
~ Bless those who are called to provide care (doctors, nurses, etc).
~ Bless those who suffer from dementia and other illnesses that rob them of memories.
~ Bless those who are suffering from chronic conditions.
~ Bless those who are suffering from terminal illnesses.
~ Bless those who suffer from the common cold.
~ Bless those who suffer in anyway.

May you grant healing in anyway you see they need.
May caregivers be given strength to provide care.
May health professionals be given knowledge and compassion.

It is so easy to lash out at You, Oh God, when these bodies seem like they are falling apart. Oh God, I confess and repent of any lashing out at you.

So I appeal to your mercy and loving kindness. I appeal to you as a child with a skinned knee running to a parent for comfort. I appeal to you that you may grant healing in anyway you see we need; whether it is,
Physical healing
Emotional healing
Spiritual healing
Psychological healing
Relationship healing
or whatever healing my frail and imperfect brain is forgetting.

Have mercy, Oh God, have mercy.

You are an awesome God and I praise and worship your holy name.

Thank you for hearing my prayer as I pray in the name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Morning devotions ~ Such a time

For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” [Esther 4:14]

Haman has unleashed an evil plot to destroy all the Jews in the kingdom, but Mordecai finds out the plan. Upon his discovery he tells Queen Esther (a Jew herself) but she is unwilling to go and tell the king. You see, there is a law on the books that states: if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. (Esther 4:11) And at this point Esther had not been called in to see the king for 30 days. So Esther fears for her life. But Mordecai reminds Esther not to be so foolish to think that she will escape this judgement, besides, who knows whether she has been brought to a time such as this.

Long story short, Mordecai finally gets through and Esther agrees to help. She secures an audience with the king and Haman’s plot is revealed; where he is eventually hanged on the very gallows that he was going to hang Mordecai (the man who earlier saved the king’s life). God DID bring Esther to a time such as this and therefore millions of lives were saved.

Have you ever wondered what God is doing in your life? Have you ever wondered why you were in a certain place at a certain time? Have you ever wondered why you were called to suffer in a certain way? Well, maybe you were called to a certain place and time for such a time to bring glory to God. Maybe, just maybe, God had His reasons and was using you to do something special and amazing.

Esther’s story is pretty incredible and maybe God won’t call you to save millions of lives, but he might call you to save one. I believe in the depths of my heart that God calls us to moments to share the Gospel and with a particular person, in order to bring that person to faith. But how many times do we miss those moments or not trust God to be faithful. I also believe that God calls us to suffer in order that we may witness to others. What a powerful way to witness when you do so through suffering; a time when many people would curse God or turn away from God. What an opportunity to proclaim God’s love and faithfulness and the hope of the resurrection through Jesus Christ.  Maybe you have been called to such a time.

So instead of wondering why God is doing what He is doing or wondering why here, why now; just witness. Make the most of the opportunity and situation to bring glory to God. Share the Gospel of Jesus Christ; that through his death and resurrection you can have forgiveness of sins and thus eternal life. Live your faith and show your trust in God because who knows, someone might hear the Gospel for the first time and be saved.

And thus God using such a time for His glory.

May God open your eyes to see opportunities and may you have the faith to accept God’s call.

Praise be to God, always and forever. Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Overcome

I was asked a question about God yesterday:  “Why does God allow little children to suffer terrible illnesses?”  It is the age-old issue of God, evil and suffer.  How do they coexist if indeed God is a loving God.  I don’t like watching little children suffer.  I don’t like watching footage of earthquake and tsunami damage.  But suffering is part of life…but why?

My first response was that God created this world perfect but sin messed it up…and God was grieved (to put it mildly).  But the suffering we experience in this world is not the end for God has overcome the world.  God overcame the world through the death and resurrection of Jesus.  As I sat and pondered this issue some more I was drawn to John 16 where Jesus is comforting his disciples.  Jesus closes that chapter by saying I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world. Praise be to God!

I still don’t like suffering.  I still grieve when little children suffer terrible illnesses and when I see reports of natural disasters.  And…I still ask that age-old question from time to time:  Why God, why?  But each time God comes through with words of reassurance and hope; strengthening my faith through reminding me of his love. And through this faith strengthening I am reminded that this is not the end.  My faith tells me that when I am going through hard times that God is right there with me.  My faith tells me that in the midst of suffering God is right there whispering those words of Jesus in my ear and in my heart.  My faith tells me that when Satan takes his best shot to drive me to despair I can respond by saying, “You have already lost!  My God has defeated you and has given me the victory through Jesus Christ so go away!

Evil and suffering are here to stay…for the time being…but take heart…Jesus has overcome the world FOR YOU and FOR ME.

Praise be to God!

-edh-