The following was written by Joe White - founder of Men at the Cross.
Wow! Sometimes life gets challenging, doesn't it!! Like you, I've been through some "brush fires" but I've been encouraged by God's Word and His love and I hope this helps you as well!
When Life Doesn't Make Sense:
Leukemia, prostate cancer, blood poisoning... it's been a doozie of a decade for me but that Bible verse God gave me eight years ago when my world came crashing down still resides as firmly in my heart as it did when I first understood it to be true:
"My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. "Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong." II Corinthians 12: 9-10
God is not absent in my tragedies or yours, nor is He "asleep at the wheel." You and I probably would have never met at the foot of that big rugged cross if God wouldn't have allowed me to undergo these challenges.
Not long ago, I participated in a funeral for a little one-day-old baby named Abigail. Her parents, sad but unshaken, still wholeheartedly argue that God is still on His throne and that "[He} causes all things to work together for those who love God and are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28
It is as true today as it was the day God told Paul to write it.
Wanting answers or wanting to fight?
I've never been a great fighter. Even playing defensive line at SMU and coaching the defensive line at Texas A&M, as brutal as that was, didn't give me pleasure in fighting! The guys were always bigger than I was; maybe that was why.
Anyway, when tragedy strikes, I've learned never to ask, "Why?" Check it out for yourself. When most people ask God, "Why?" they're usually not looking for answers; they're looking for a fight. I'm all about fighting with God. He's not someone I want to meet in a dark alley unless I'm looking for a partner.
I've learned to ask, "Help!' and "Hold me!" and "Encourage me!" and "What do you need me to learn in this?" and leave the "Why's?" for the theologians and philosophers who sit in ivory towers pondering the infinite.
I get a huge kick out of God's response to Job in Job chapter 38 when Job asked, "Why?" "Where were you, Job, when I created the cosmos and set the stars in the universe?" (all hundred and hundreds of billions of them)
Pain improves my prayer time. Pain enlarges my heart. Best of all, pain gives me (and you) an amazing platform to share God's comforting love with others who go through similar pain. "Who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." II Corinthians 1:4
There is no better counselor for a frightened pregnant girl than someone who has been down that road before. God uses my many failures and blind-sighted trials to break my heart for people (perhaps like you) whose hearts are bleeding. I can honestly thank Him for every scar on my knees, elbows, face and heart for the chance I've had to hug the hurting in my lifetime.
Credit where Credit is Due
One of the biggest mistakes you and I can make in our peace with God is giving Him the credit (or better yet, the blame) for what is not His. A great friend of mine named Dennis, who played linebacker for Texas A&M, was killed along with his precious baby by a drunk driver. His wife, Debbie, was immeasurably broken-hearted as you can imagine. However, she was never bitter because she knew it wasn't God to blame. Yes, God gives us freedom to make good or bad choices but He didn't want that man to get drunk and drive stupidly. He didn't want Debbie's heart to be shattered. James is crystal clear, "God can not be tempted by evil for He Himself does not tempt anyone, but each one is tempted when he is carried away by his own lust. For when lust is conceived it gives birth to sin and when sin is accomplished it brings forth death." James 1: 13-15
God could have made us all puppets and put us on strings, but He chose to make us in His image and give us freedom to choose. He knew full-well that people would choose to hurt or even kill each other. The cause of evil and pain and suffering is God's archrival Satan. He gets what he deserves: our hatred and our desire to flee from him in every way imaginable. Thank God He paved a way for Dennis and that baby to spend eternity in Heaven where all injustices of this world are rectified forever.
Psalms 139 comforts my heart when I'm hurting. Hide it in your heart and let His peace flow.
O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.
You hem me in-behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
Even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"
Even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
Your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.
If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!
They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,
and abhor those who rise up against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Because He Lives,
If these writings have touched you - I encourage you to receive Joe's daily devotionals via email. Click HERE.
Lindsey Williams - Actionable Intelligence
6 years ago