Blessing In Sorrow
Do we trust God only when he is bringing us good stuff, and not also trust him when bad things happen in life? Is God good only when he causes things to happen which make us happy? Is God not just as good when pain and loss enter life?
If we believe God, and take pain with the same confidence as the pleasures of life, then the darkness will be as rich with blessing as the light, and sorrow will bring us as close to God as joy.
Results Are Not The Same
There exists a great impartiality to the general providence of life. The sun shines equally upon the just and the unjust, the breeze blows gently upon the saint and the sinner, and the rain falls to cleanse both the good and the evil. Each person, regardless of character, knows joy and pain, reward and failure.
For the Christian, hope is found in knowing that results are not the same. Two ships enter the same gale side by side; one is broken apart upon the rocks while the other rides out the storm safely. Two souls ride the storms of life; one is destroyed while the other arrives safely home. It all depends on how the soul reacts to what the world calls “hardship.”
“All things work together for good to them that love God.” -Romans 8:28
Both A Joy And Curse
What a joy and yet a curse God has placed upon us — love, that is. It is the height of pleasure and delight, while being the source of our deepest pains. Years of life are spent in its pleasures, surrounded by those whom we love. Then, because of the love, comes the pain of separation.
The child grows up and leaves. The parent grows old and dies. If it were not for love, it would not hurt. Were it not for the years of being bound to another, we could continue on not aching for the one now gone. But such is the wisdom of God that this of of his design. Our task is to pray for the grace to live it out well.
The Storm’s Center
At the center of a hurricane there is a place of perfect calm. In the eye of the storm a baby lies sleeping, and a thistle rests lightly upon the ground. So it is at the center of any great peril of life, a spot of holy calm exists where even the feeblest of souls cannot be harmed.
Where is this safe place, and how is such a spot found? Go to God. Amid the perils and the trials of life, run to God. God is found in the center of the storm, but should you try and leave the center alone, the storm wall will tear you apart.
“The Lord is your keeper” -Psalm 121:5
Joy In Sorrow
For the Christian, one of the most difficult tasks is to find joy in the midst of sorrow. Yet, if we trust God’s promises, that is exactly what is found.
Afflictions come upon us in life, but God does not mean to hurt us through them. Heavy disappointments are often God’s appointments, and what God sends us as growth may look more like misfortune. Even that which appears as outright evil can contain inside it a rich compensation when we allow God to work it out.
The old time preachers used to say: “Beyond sorrow’s Jordan’s green fields lie” That is still true today.
God Brings It In Love
When life is rewarding, affirming, and filled with peace, it is easy to say that God is good. But when life goes into its depths — when life seems against us and happiness has run its course — then seeing the Hand of God becomes much more difficult.
Yet the Providence of God is just as sure in the depths of life as in the heights. God comes to us in varied ways, at different times and in circumstances beyond our comprehension. But whatever prosperity or adversity we perceive, God brings it in love.
If a person becomes fatigued by the ordinary, daily living of life that is filled with the common strains and struggles, then what is going to happen when the difficult trials come? Things far worse than we imagine happen to us. From relationships, sickness, wrong choices, and death, comes great pain, confusion, and sorrow into life. The Christian has Christ, and thereby knows God, thereby having a secure faith with which to face the hard hours that will lie ahead.
“How will you do in the swelling of the Jordan?” (KJV) -Jeremiah 12:5
Pain and suffering can be very excellent teachers. Many souls which cannot be touched through a human voice will listen to the wordless message brought by pain. So what if it is brought by God? Then the Christian is to take heart and know that God intends no harm, and does not desire to hurt. All God does is designed for good, and a faithful response is one of trust. The will of God is what drives the course of the world, so whatever He should please to do is within His providence. He has given the world Christ, so what is there to complain about?
Part of the mystery of the faith is the blessed mercy contained in the simple fact that God would even take notice of us at all.
“Thou dost beset me behind and before, and layest thy hand upon me” —Psalm 139:5
Pray Christ’s Promises
The Christian must call upon Jesus in every time of trouble — whenever confusion and pain control the body and the soul. Do not hesitate to ask for what is needed to deliver the body or the spirit from it’s struggle.
Yet the Christian must know this: Christ may pretend not to hear. He may scold, even chide on account of our unworthiness, and our own conscience may confirm the truth.
But also never forget this: Do not leave and quit praying. Our faith, and Christ’s grace, are not based upon our being worthy, but rather upon His promises.
So let this be your prayer - the promises of Christ. Continue in that prayer. Christ cannot contradict Himself. He will give you what you need — He has promised.
“If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” -John 14:14
“Ask, and it will be given you” — Matthew 7:7
The Father’s Love
Those things which humanity calls affliction - anguish, pain, grief, and suffering - can bring out the best of love. A parent’s love is never so great as when a child is in distress. Concern and care for the child’s well-being becomes the most important thing in the heart.
It is also that way with the love of God. By virtue of our having fallen, our being in peril of becoming lost forever, God’s richest love shows forth. In light of our deep needs, the Father’s love is poured out in compassion.