All of you who read my last blog are expecting a walloping good blog on the art of flatulence lighting. I have let you down. I hope it doesn't hurt to bad. You are all "aghast" Sorry,...That was a really horrible joke. I decided that today I would talk about why God allows us to go through tough times and what can feel like aggravating, unbearable, unrelenting, and excruciating pain. I am going to show you how, even though it kills inside, maybe this pain isn't as bad as you believe, in fact...maybe its even a good thing. Don't get me wrong, I am not a masochist, I hate pain just as much as the next guy, probably more (thats why I rarely work out and am a skinny wimp), but pain has the amazing power to get you places that comfort would never bring you.
There are two times in life when God brings a person pain. Those times are as follows; when we deserve it, and when we don't. I really don't think that anyone could debate that, its a given. Now we just got to ask ourselves, why? Surprisingly, i think for the most part the reasons are pretty close to the same for both cases.
When God poors pain on us when we don't appear to deserve it, i believe that through those times of pain we can learn somthing, and maybe a greater good is being done for us or someone else. Its like this, say you break your arm. you have to get the arm set and put in a cast so that it will heal and you can use it again. despite the pain, somthing greater than the pain (in this case, the healing of the arm) is being done. Its the same way with the death of a loved one. It may appear we don't deserve it. Perhaps in this persons death however, this person went to be with Christ, or maybe someone at the funeral questioned their own eternity. Both are far greater goods then the bad of the pain. What can we learn? In pain, we can learn multitudes of things. "Things".... good word choice huh? I couldn't think of a better word than things..., anyway, in times of pain we do two things, we either run to God or away from him in bitterness and anger. when we run to God, we can learn whatever he has to teach us. When we run from God, we will learn that a life away from him hurts even more than the hurt that sent us running in the first place.
Now to look at those of us who deserve pain. i believe God sheds the pain on us because we also need to learn something, even if its as simple a lesson as "don't do that anymore". He also gives us pain because he is a just God and won't let our sin go unpunished. Sure, we are forgiven if we are Christians, and sure God will wipe our sin away as far as the east is from the west. He doesn't condem us for our sin anymore, but that doesn't mean we won't feel the consequences of our actions or that we can do whatever we want as Christians. And here is the cool part, i believe God is also longing to give us who have sinned and deserve punishment a greater good as well. He is saying to us, "don't live that way anymore. Come to me, i have somthing so much better in store for you." God isn't a God who says tough luck, you blew it. He says instead, oh well, maybe you'll do better next time. lets try living my way now. This is where I feel i am at. God took somthing away from me recently that i treasured greatly. So greatly, that I very often put it above him. That in itself is sin enough to punish, but I was doing several other things I knew i shouldn't be doing and they were in my opinion, secret. Only a few other people knew about the sinful struggle i was going through, only them and God. God took away my relationship with my girlfriend, a girl who i love deeply and truly thought that i would marry one day. he stripped me of my pride, he brought me to my knees he brought me crawling in my tears to his arms. She made the decision that it was time to put Christ first, forcing me to do the same. I had become callused to my sin and God very painfully ripped the callus away by touching me in my most tender spot. Let me tell you, it was the first time in a long time that i ran to my bible for comfort.
Lets look to the bible for an example of one whom didn't trully deserve the pain, and one man who did.
Job was "a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil." the bible says he was blameless. in other words, Job was a pretty dang good guy. Yet God allowed Satan to take away everything from Job except his life. His family, his great riches, his health, his honor, his friendships...everything. Job did nothing wrong, yet everything was taken from him. God did this to show Satan Jobs extreme devotion to him. throughout it all Job never once cursed God. He questioned God, and basically made the "its not fair" speech, but in his position who wouldn't? In the end, God blessed Job by giving him twice as much as he had before.
Now, lets look at our good friend King David. You probably all know the story of David and Bathsheba. How Dave caught a glimpse of the only woman i know of with the word bath in her name taking a bath (you got to admit, thats kinda ironic) and was filled with lust for her so instead of overting his eyes and fleeing temptation, he decided to find out who she was, sleep with her and murder her husband. He became callused and the sins did the snowball effect. Yeah, you know the story...first soap opera ever. But how many of you know of the punishment and pain David went through? First, his son, born by Bathsheba dies soon after birth, but the trouble goes on as one of his sons commits rape on his half sister, others commit murder, and still another trys to overtake the throne. His wives are bitter, and his son solomon follows much of his fathers footsteps when he decides its a great idea to have a bazillion wives and concubines.... Yeah, David went through pain for his actions, and he paid in full. But here is the part of the story that gets good. David repented and turned from his sin. He was trully sorry for what he had done, and God gave this adulterous murderer the title of "a man after Gods own heart".
i don't want to make people think that they deserve the pain they are going through all the time. i am most definitely not saying you deserved to have your best friend die or to be beaten by your father, or loose your house in a fire. Not at all, those things are not your fault, you do not deserve those things at all. i repeat, you don't deserve that pain so don't tell yourself you do. I am saying however, that we are all sinners and deserve hell, but God chooses not to give us hell if we accept Christ into our lives. So we shouldn't wallow in our pain because we do deserve alot worse, and God will use our pain for our benefit in one way or the other.
And here is where things get really exciting. So, we have screwed up. So we did deserve our punishment. Its time to get over it and use the tool of our pain to teach us a lesson. We must repent and turn to Christ. We must get over the fact that we sinned, step out of the guilt and do what Christ calls us to do. we must stop wallowing in the pain, the bitterness, the depression and live lives out loud, lives that scream Christ. then we too will be "men after Gods own heart"
"This is all going to turn out for my good"! (Philippians 1:19 TLB)