When the Righteous Suffer...
Too often I've heard many say (and even tell me) that "God would never ____ _____ … Many fill-in the blanks with outrageous unscriptural things. Guess what? In most cases, He already has ____ ____and often many times throughout scripture, and in our lives. The one thing that I hear most is that "God would never allow us to go through"..."God will not allow us to suffer and etc", I hope they mean "not above which we are able..." 1st Corinthians 10:13 . There are 5 kinds of suffering: 1From People, 2From Being in the world/chaos, 3 our own ignorance, 4From disobeying God, and 5Illness/disease. One we can't help, another we may bring upon ourselves due to responding inappropriately to a person or situation, and another to be trained, made patient, to learn to encourage others, to become experienced, honed, skillful, tried in the Fire and be formed and transformed by God to represent Christ.
Paul experienced hardship, the Apostles were crucified, the martyr Stephen was stoned to death during his trial sermon, but today’s generation of Christians believe since this is the age of Grace that we in America cannot be persecuted, killed, suffer loss, or hardship as a people, like we are bullet-proof, yet we live more carelessly than any of the Christians that lived before us. It is a great misconception to think we are in better position than the early Church, and persecuted Christians in other countries; and such teaching has many Christians lulled to sleep in the comfort of their wealth, relationships, and gain, only to go back on God with the first major setback, oh and don’t tell them we as Christians who are alive will be here during the Great Tribulation, even though it is written we leave at the Last Trump, not the first one when the Trib starts. (Revelation chapters 8-10) (2nd Thessalonians chapter 2) [and by the way....The Church is not a "he".]
We're quick to Thank and Praise God and say He's good, when we escape some trouble, get the job, home or car, the husband or wife, spare some close call, or are healed, and it's all well and good, but to say God is Good when car is totaled while the auto insurance check bounced due to $1 shortage, the husband cheats, the wife leaves to find herself, the son/daughter started using drugs, rebels, and etc. Do we just weep unto God in sorrow, and beg for a miracle with hard crying or do we still say God is Good? Does God have to make everything go the way we want and expect before we consistently acknowledge His perpetual Lordship in all things, at all times? Truly in a multitude of trials some heaviness is inevitable, for it is written in 1st Peter 1:6 ..."ye are in heaviness due to manifold temptations", (it should'nt last but a few days) however in 1st Peter 4:12 it tells us the fiery trial is to try us.
There must be some trial and we
must at some point be tested to prove where our heart is, how true we are, how
Faithful to God. This kind of temptation is good for us, and many are the
afflictions of the righteous but God shall deliver the righteous out of them
all as He did for Paul on his journeys many times. Acts 14:22 states "we
must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God. We must realize
that when others face impossible situations that just because it didn’t happen
to us doesn’t mean"God didn’t see fit for it to be me", for God
doesn’t see fit for ANYBODY to suffer, or perish, some things are just the way
of this sinful world, and trials are often used as a tool to educate and help
people to move forward and stop the error that caused the trial, if we are not
careful to comfort the hurting, we forget we are not excluded from being next.
We remember John the Baptist stated in Matthew 3:11 that the Lord shall "baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire". 1st Corinthians 3:15 says "the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is" and 1st Peter 1:7 states the trial of your faith shall be tried with fire. Truly we shall come out as pure Gold as we are perfected by our faithful patience, enduring ALL things.
May we keep in mind that serving the Lord is more than Blessings, Miracles, Answered Prayers, Bliss, Healings, Gifts and Presents, Songs, Shouting, Sermons and Dance, but also Strength in trials brought on just by being in the world, by evil people, by attacks, tests, and how we Trust God through them and Triumph over our troubles, Rejoicing, Praying, Waiting, Walking in Faith and Courage, Believing and Learning to Encourage others who after us may experience the same trouble.