On Suffering

Here's real for you: Ever since Christ rescued me and gave me new life in Him, I have become painfully aware of other things in my life that I run to for rescue. Scripture calls them idols of the heart. Some have appropriately called them "functional saviors." When I have them, my little kingdom is good. When I don't, the temptation to sin becomes very evident in my life. You may resonate with this.

Waiting. C'mon, nobody likes to wait. Don't leave me hanging here. In the fast-paced, microwave, fast food, immediate gratification culture that we've been saturated in, the challenge is intensified. That's one of the most challenging things when it comes to prayer and trusting God. He ALWAYS answers us, and He ALWAYS keeps His promises. He just doesn't always do things WHEN I think He should. Often times I think it's midnight, and He's like, "Relax, it's only 9:45." And He doesn't always answer our prayers or keep His promises in the WAY we think He should. He is free to surprise us and He often does. That is why it is even more crucial that we get to know Him. So that we can trust Him, even when we have to wait, even when His answers don't come exactly how we think they should. Experiences like this drive a person either away from Him or deeper into Him. 

Our faith is in God, who has the power to heal and holds power over the grave. Our complete hope and trust is in Him. But that does not mean we don't completely lose it at times. It does not mean we don't struggle at times with why He is allowing this to happen to our sweet and beautiful little girl or wonder how we're gonna make it over the long haul, let alone another hour.

It is tempting to moralize suffering by adopting the world’s “this for that” mentality. Good people are good and so receive blessing and bad people are bad so they are cursed.  The problem with this view is the fact that there are no "good" people, plus Jesus has severed the link between "suffering" and "deserving" once and for all at Calvary.

How could we ever have imagined that this would be the road God would have us walking down at this time in our lives. We couldn't. And yet we could. God has appointed to each of us a measure of adversity in our lives. We live in a broken world, and every single one of us suffer. Suffering is a part of the fabric of our lives because of the fall. I preached a sermon back in August 2011 titled, “Living Strong When It All Goes Wrong,” and I needed to preach it to myself again this week: