Lately, I’ve been struggling with how to express the awesome love of our God, to friends of mine who are going through the darkest times we can endure in a lifetime. It seems trite, at times, to share scripture, no matter how encouraging they may be, to a friend in need. A friend in need of the very God I’m quoting, and quite possibly the very God they are feeling abandoned by!
In our finite lives, it is so difficult to see the infinite, terribly difficult. Yet as we struggle with our presence in the here and now, God desires to be with us in the here and after….
SO as trite as God’s word seems in the midst of our greatest battles… It is that very word that lifts us beyond the now…. to…. the after…….
Still, though I know this, if someone feels abandoned by God amidst great personal tragedy, do they really want to hear from that God…. Do they?
It is a perplexing question, and I know we all have these traumatic moments to face in our lives. Do we want the God of the infinite in the midst of our finite dilemma?
When I have suffered due to my own failures in life I have run to God…. He has always been the answer to my pain. He has always come through. Sometimes, not as I hoped for, but I have always found growth, healing, peace, strength and renewal, wrapped in the arms of my Savior! I needed Him, I recognized my need to be saved from myself.
But I have struggled with medical issues and prayed for deliverance and seemingly not gotten an answer. Issues I did nothing to bring about. I have at times felt God didn’t care. Floundering with those issues are some of the darkest times I have known. I wonder what did I do to deserve this?
You do not have, because you do not ask. 3You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
~James 4:3-4 ESV
Reading a scripture like this I wonder if I’m asking wrongly?
a thorn was given me in the flesh…………. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
~2 Corinthians 12:7-9 ESV
Or, did God use my weakness in powerful ways? Has He enabled me to deal with it?
22And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
~Matthew 21:22 ESV
Or do I lack faith? Is this God all just a sham?
I shudder the thought! God a sham…….NO! He has proven Himself. He has answered my prayers…… Perhaps not always as I’d hoped, but as He willed, and in each case He and His kingdom have been glorified.
God’s Word tells us…
10But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
~Romans 8:10-11 ESV
In light of faith in Christ, Christians are also assured….
28And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
~Romans 8:28 ESV
I often thought, when I was younger,“how do I love Jesus?”, …. you know….. when I was teenager…… and knew everything, except my sin…….
It seemed awkward….. Loving Jesus…..But I am no longer under any illusions about my sin and what that love is all about!
When people argue about who killed Jesus, (the Romans or the Jews), I know the answer……
All of us; Adam, Abraham, Moses, David, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Peter, Paul and Mary, not the musical group, but yes them too! All of us have sinned.
WE murdered God.
The death penalty delivered to Christ was our death penalty. Still God loves us….. So much so that…
Wrap your head around this…
Christ came to earth to be killed, by you and me, so He could forgive us, in order to be with us!
In fact our Creator, …………….before he even created us, ………..knew we would kill Him on the cross, yet created us still.
God created us for His pleasure in His likeness. Out of all the creation we are the one creature He called,“Very Good!” He desires a relationship with us so much, He has been relentlessly pursuing us. If he’d have only created one of us, he would have still died in our place, to be with us!
Struggle, sickness, loss, and physical death are the results of man’s sin. We all face them. And if we are in Christ they will work for our good. God promises. Pysically we will die in this life, Yet we do not have to die spiritually, but until we acknowledge God’s rightful place, as Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer, Lord, we do not even begin to live spiritually.
God has always wanted to be with us, and to have us work with Him for His Creation’s (Kingdom’s) sake. We are the ones who turned, but He wants us back! He’s proven it! Joining Him, spiritually alive, changes our physical life’s desires. It changes how we see the desert times in our lives, because God is working!
It is Jesus, The Word, Creator, Redeemer, that lifts us from the finite to the infinite. It is He we need, in the midst of our temporary (finite) struggles, difficult as they are!
As you ponder the struggle, consider this: Jesus’ physical life points to our spiritual death, for He knew no sin. His physical death, provides for our Spiritual life, because in our place He died, yet He rose again! In our place! God offers us His death for our life!
Will you accept it?