The next few weeks I'm going to post here what I spoke on at the conference in Salina. It will definitely be an abbreviated version! But it will give you the big picture of what God has been working on in me
When we begin to experience painful things in our lives... When bad things start happening and we begin to stumble and fall in our faith... When we start to lose where God is... When we wonder how to put feet to our faith when we can't find our feet OR our faith... We need to ask ourselves a few questions, remembering that a loss of faith is all about me because God hasn't changed a thing about Himself.
Do we have a right attitude about suffering?
Hebrews 12:7-8 says "Endure hardship as discipline. God is
treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are
not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate
children and not true sons." Verses 11-12"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. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms
and weak knees, make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be
disabled, but rather healed."
Sometimes we go through hard times. Sometimes those hard times have to do with sin in our lives. That is certainly where our minds jump when things go bad. Like Job's friends we wonder what we have done to deserve all this pain and suffering! We think that if we were living "right " then God wouldn't be punishing us this way. (which is a whole separate subject really, and this is going to be a long post so I'll save that one for later!)
Sometimes however, we go through tough things because we are being disciplined. If you look at Hebrews 11 or what is known as the "Hall of Faith" in the verses just before these, we see people who endured terrible tragedy, but in that tragedy and hardship were drawn closer to God. Ultimately it wasn't about them, it was about God.
- I know that if we hadn't gone through what we have the past few months. I wouldn't be who I am now. Hardship has changed me, hopefully for the better. I can choose to live mad at God for what has happened, or I can choose to live victorious in the better person he has made me now.
- Sometimes suffering comes with the territory of being a Christian. I'm not sure where the idea came from that if we are true believers that we won't have problems. It certainly didn't come from the Bible! Every person we read about in scripture suffered in their faith. Not one lived a life of perfect bliss after a decision to follow Jesus. Christianity is hard!
- I don't understand how all of these things work together for the glory of God. I don't understand why really painful things happen to people. I know it is not in God's nature to cause us hurt. But I do know that sometimes I get so wrapped up in my own suffering I don't see the big picture. The one God sees. There is where the answer is, in the big picture that only God sees.