Sunday, November 3, 2013

Insurmountable Obstacles in Our Path to a Joy-filled Life?

Friend, have you been feeling the weight of God's hand on your life? Does it seem there is no end to the pressure He is inflicting, the pain you're enduring or the burden you are carrying? Have you been crying "uncle" and yet it still comes? You are not alone and in fact you are in great company.

Many of our heroes have been under this kind of trial at some point in their life; Job, David and Calvin to name just a few.

After months of painful, bodily suffering the last words of John Calvin were, "Lord, You grind me to powder, but it suffices me because it is Your hand."
After learning of the loss of all he held dear, Job's response was, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
David said, "I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for You are the one who has done this!" Psalm 39:9.

Realizing that it was 
God's chastening hand on him, David didn't complain. There was not a silent sullenness, or brooding, but a quiet acceptance without protest.

AW Pink said, "When we are in our right minds, we shall have nothing to object against God's dealings with us, or dispute with them. God is sovereign in the acts of His providence--and therefore an important branch of our obedience unto Him lies in suffering His will, as well as in doing His will. That obedience is evidenced by refusing to repine against Him by the utterance of any impatient words."

Wow, those are hard words. Words that cut deep. The pain of our trial is real; sometimes more real than we could ever have imagined we'd go through. It does also seem that God likes to pile it on, that it's not just one thing but that they come in droves and sometimes we are not able to get the first wreck cleared from the freeway fast enough and all of a sudden 20 more cars come crashing into the first wreckage. 

What do we do when this happens? What is the proper response? Or maybe a better question is "what is the proposer perspective in these situations?"

Pink goes on to say, "Shall vile dust and ashes censure the providential dealings of the Most High God, or impugn His goodness? Let all God's treatment of us be both wondrous and righteous
 in our eyes." That's a different perspective.

We often see these trials and hardships as "bad" things in our lives and yet if we will finally realize that all the things that God gives are blessings, perfectly planned and administered to His children at just the right time and in just the right dosage, we will have grown to a point where these things truly are "light and momentary afflictions" rather than insurmountable obstacles in our path to a joy filled life.

"If our hope is in God for a happiness in the eternal world--then we can well afford to reconcile ourselves to all the dispensations of Divine providence concerning this world." Matthew Henry

Again, once we will realize that all our afflictions are appointed by our loving heavenly Father all of our complaining should stop. It's not by chance that the cars are piling up on the freeway but rather perfectly sent to His children at the exact right time for our good and His glory. 

Someone who really understood trials and difficulty said, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”  Helen Keller

"God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it!" Hebrews 12:10-11

Our tendency is that we are often focused on the present time rather than the future harvest and so we complain about, and run from, the plowing and sowing in our lives and the harvest  of righteousness and peace never comes.

May we have joy in ALL circumstances, whether the highest high or the lowest low. May we be able to say with Habakuk,

"Though the fig tree should not blossom,
    nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
    and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
    and there be no herd in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
    I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 God, the Lord, is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the deer's;
    he makes me tread on my high places." 

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