Archives For Suffering

It’s been well said that hope never goes out of style. Who doesn’t need hope? I’ll bet you wonder about that at times. Because all of us sure need it.

You even wonder what it would be like to not need hope.

While all may need hope, some are in desperate need of it.

What’s the difference?

You desperately need hope when you feel…

Helpless. You don’t have the answers or the resources to alleviate your current pain.

Overwhelmed. You feel like you are drowning in debt, emotional pain, or on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Paralyzed. How many times have you sat and thought for hours only to realize that you have not accomplished anything? Pain affects our productivity.

Exhausted. You are at the end of your rope and you know it.

You are not alone. In my next post I want to share a story from the Old Testament where we will meet a woman who was in need of hope. Her pain was about to do her in. She wondered if life would ever change.

It did.

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There are two things about human nature that are universal. We want any pain to cease immediately. And if we do something right, we want to be rewarded immediately

After all, that’s how we train our animals. Do this and there is immediate gratification.

In our dogs’ case, that equals food, pleasure.

When it comes to our piety, our faith & devotion, we tend to feel as if we should get some kind of hall pass on pain. After all, doesn’t God want us to be happy? I want my pets to be happy. But then I’m not trying to build character into my dogs.

Can you imagine a world in which God rewarded piety immediately? Sports would be non-existent. Because you can’t have two winners at the end of a game. What if both teams held a Bible study and prayed before a game? God would be in a pickle.

Ultimately we would become selfish and slaves to all of our prurient interests.

But it’s still a hard concept to shake. When God sets out to be build character in us, He includes suffering.

To be clear there is nothing wrong with asking God to remove the pain in your life. And we should expect God to bless our spirituality. That is pretty much the theme of Proverbs.

Let’s just not put God on a timetable. Perhaps a better solution is to make Proverbs 3:5-6 a daily reality:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

and do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge him,

and he will make straight your paths (ESV).

  

Let’s trust God to decide when it’s time to reward our piety.