Saturday, July 04, 2009

Potential Benefits of Your Problem

Life not treating you fairly these days?

Can you keep going a little longer?

When — not if — situations get even worse, can you still hold on to your faith a little longer?

The irritations you’re already dealing with may prod you to more strength. The rotten situations your imagination can foresee may develop in you greater determination. And astoundingly, huge good might accrue to people around you as a result of how you choose to react to your challenges.

In distressing circumstances some people will cave in, give up faith, take stupid drastic measures, even commit suicide. But there’s a better way, a way that brings undreamed of success.

God’s Word says He has an amazing outcome for you. Great, unexpected benefits may result from your small acts of faithfulness to Him.

What’s going on?
Feeling weighted down with the problems of the world in general, and your own, in particular is a common complaint. Most of us would make good use of a huge eraser to remove the stress and frustrations from any typical day.

Around the world most people have it much worse. They’re suffering from deplorable economic issues, severe government restrictions, cultural calamities, health disasters. The evening news will tell us more than we want to hear.

What are the choices?
How do people react to trouble? Sadness, discouragement, depression? Fear, agitation, alarm, panic? Aversion, confusion, denial? Hostility, hatefulness, brutality? Or, learning, responding with spiritual considerations and strength of purpose?

Examples of various reactions to adversities can be seen in the lives of many people who are outlined in the Bible. Here’s a sampling of men and women who had miserable circumstances that they didn’t create and didn’t deserve. Each could have responded differently, to their detriment. Read the full accounts in Scripture.

JOSEPH: His brothers ganged up on him, sold him to foreign traders. Far from home he was a slave, circumstances got better as he worked hard and smart, but was thrown into jail because of the lies of the wife of his master. One after another he had a rotten day, but he worked hard and smart in jail and finally was released. His leadership skills gained him the second highest position in that foreign nation. Amazingly, he forgave his brothers and was eventually reunited with them and his father. Thousands and thousands of people benefited from his insight, judgment, and actions.

DANIEL: A teenager was captured by invading foreigners and carried off to a ungodly foreign land. He held to his belief in God, good health practices, and spoke up to those over him. Amazingly he worked his way up in government and developed his leadership qualities. Jealous men in high positions fixed it so Daniel would be killed. Sure enough, he was thrown in the lions’ den. What a rotten day that was, except for the fact that God had a outstanding deliverance for him. The king proclaimed to the entire nation about the true God. Daniel became a blessing for thousands of people.

DAVID: As young man he was sought out by Samuel, prophet of God, and was anointed to be the king. What a rotten day it was when King Saul found out and hunted down David to kill him. For several years David was on the run, but he showed no hatred towards King Saul. Finally, in God’s timing Saul died and David was crowned. David wrote most of the Psalms, and his staunch faith has affected unknown millions of people.

ESTHER: A beautiful young woman’s parents died, and her uncle took her in. They lived in a foreign country of unbelievers where they concealed their racial and spiritual heritage. Amazingly, she was chosen to be the queen; that was a great day. But later when an enemy plotted she had to exhibit great emotional strength to confront the situation. The king had been fooled into making a murderous decree, but thanks to Esther and her Uncle Mordecai the situation was changed entirely, saving thousands of people.

OTHERS: The Bible gives the accounts of other men and women who endured various struggles. We can be reminded and inspired by reading about them.

What can I expect?
Calamities call for courage. Battles call for belief. The time of trouble is definitely the time to trust and obey God.

This is not a “generic god,” but the Creator of Everything, who gave Jesus to be our Savior, if we accept Him.

The book of Psalms can help us focus on the provision of God for all sorts of situations. To read it is like taking vitamins for the soul.

God gives wisdom. We are to act on it. People are not to just sit around and commiserate with each other. Governments may be harsh and ungodly, but those who love God will still work hard, use good judgment, and keep their faith.

Things could get even worse. You might not even still be around when God turns things around. Some day you may give up your life as a testimony to hateful, murderous unbelievers. Others before us have found the strength to die for the Lord.

Even in tears, give Him a trusting smile. A wonderful eternal life in Heaven awaits God’s children. This is ultimate success.

Today, keep taking one step of faith after another. Nothing can come between His love and you. And, let these words be an encouragement to you; God can use you to bring a blessing to others.

Romans 8: 31, b - 39, NLT

“If God is for us, who can ever be against us?
Since He did not spare even His own Son
but gave Him up for us all,
won’t He also give us everything else?

Who dares accuse us
whom God has chosen for His own?
No one — for God Himself has given us right standing with Himself.
Who then will condemn us?

No one — for Christ Jesus died for us
and was raised to life for us,
and He is sitting in the place of honor
at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?

Does it mean He no longer loves us
if we have trouble or calamity,
or are persecuted, or hungry,
or destitute, or in danger,
or threatened with death?

No, despite all these things,
overwhelming victory is ours through Christ,
who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing

can ever separate us from God’s love.
Neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,
neither our fears for today
nor our worries about tomorrow —
not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.
No power in the sky above
or in the earth below —
indeed, nothing in all creation
will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed
in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

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By Elaine Hardt ©2009