"God loves you. He loves you so much that He's allowed this trial to push you to the point where you have no choice but to look to Him." When Life is Hard by James MacDonald
Divine love and permitted suffering - those are two concepts that, when considered side by side, most of us have struggled with at one time or another. As believers, we have accepted the fact that God loves us. Not that he "tolerates us" or "watches us in amused detachment" or "plays with as as some kind of toy." His word is clear that he loves us.
But when our everyday life is disrupted by pain and suffering, we tend to slip back into a humanistic line of thinking that may include asking him "What have you done for me lately?" & & &
What God has done for some of us, lately, is that he has allowed us to be "pushed to the point" as MacDonald says, where we have no choice but to trust him. We don't like that much.
Nevertheless, "God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want." (from The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis, 53.)
We like to view ourselves as graciously surrendering our will to his in humble obedience. The truth is much more likely to be that we have been brought to our knees by a load which we can no longer bear alone - and then, and often only then - do we look to him.
All too often we are like the man who fell, while up on his roof doing some repair work. As he is sliding down the shingles, knowing he is going to break an arm or a leg when he lands, he desperately calls out to God, "Please, Lord, help me. I'm falling."
Then his suspenders suddenly snag on a large nail, holding him in place until he can carefully regain his footing and his handhold. He looks up and says, "Never mind, Lord. That nail took care of it." & & &
I do not recall in which C.S. Lewis book he writes that God allows human suffering, much like a parent allows a child to endure some pain and suffering when going to the dentist. The conscientious parent actually takes the child to the dentist, and requires him or her to stay put, while the dentist does his work.
Why does the parent do this? The mother or dad might say, "Because I care enough about you to ignore your pitiful cries to be allowed to skip this experience." Because to give in to the child's pleas to be allowed to "skip the dentist" is to assure worse pain, in the form of toothaches and extractions, down the road.
God does not cause suffering, but he does sometimes "take us to the dentist" knowing that the present trial will cause us to become much stronger and healthier down the road.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 NIV & & &
Admittedly, I am not there yet. I sometimes plead to please be given a heavenly hall pass for this one, Lord. Just this time, ok?
But trials focus my attention on him like little else can do. When the gas tank in my car is full, I pay no attention to the gas gauge. But when I am almost on empty, I am focused on just where that needle is resting. Is it actually touching the red part yet? It is still a hair above it?
Running on spiritual empty, recognizing that I have been pushed to the point where I must look to him, humbles me. It reminds me of how distracted my life can become - and so quickly, too.
So then, perhaps, I am willing to "consider it pure joy" - this very tough situation that I am facing; knowing that God has prepared a solution, a way through, if I am willing to cooperate with him.
After all, "...the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials...".II Peter 2:9 (a) I'm truly thankful for that! God bless you ... Marsha In Other Words is being hosted today by Debbie at Heart Choices. Please stop by.