Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Three Terrible Situations with Happy Endings

What shocking situation could push you into a horrible choice of giving up in despair or striking out in anger? Picture the worst.

Now, imagine this: as disaster surrounds you, all of a sudden something incredible happens, and you come out safe and sound, with blessings you had never considered to be possible.

Here are three scary scenarios that happened to actual people.

# 1 : A huge problem, a perilous risk,
but it brought an unbelievable reward.
Terrible news spread throughout the town. Thousands of people were headed their way and their army had defeated two kings on the other side of the river. Obviously, citizens here faced overwhelming danger. War was certain to erupt.

For one prostitute the scary message hit a raw nerve. Now, two strangers come to her door, just asking for lodging for the night. Sizing them up her only conclusion was they were enemy spies.

A strange bravery, in a unexpected response to her predicament, she acknowledged, “I know that the LORD has given you the land, and the terror of you has fallen on us.”

She goes on to say, “Our hearts melted, neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.”

She took a life-threatening risk, but this catastrophe brought Rahab an unimaginable reward. She was protected, she and her family rescued in the siege of Jericho, accepted by that nation of God-fearing people. Eventually she married one of them, and her family line went on to include King David and eventually Jesus Christ.

# 2: A life-threatening disease followed
the death of all his children & the loss
of a huge fortune, then it all changed.
Every day was a good day. He had an impeccable reputation as the greatest man of the East, riches topping everything anyone else had amassed, servants did the work, herded the animals, ran the ranch. The family get-togethers were held regularly. He was respected for his wisdom and his godly behavior. Job “had it made,” until something totally unexpected happened. God allowed Satan to put an astonishing testing on Job.

Now his own wife was against him; “Curse God and die!” was her mean-hearted advice. Job cursed the day of his birth, and he said, “What I always feared has happened to me.”

His reputation was trashed by tragedy. Who wanted to go and listen to some man who lost all his wealth and was covered with boils? To make matters worse three men did come to see for themselves Job’s misery. With no sympathy, their advice was more like accusation.

Finally God spoke directly to Job with some powerful words. There was an amazing outcome when Job opened his heart to God. His health returned, and soon he had riches, his wife bore him children, and people all around saw the unbelievable happen.

# 3 : Things went from bad to worse,
then something wonderful happened.
An awful marriage, how had it happened to her? Perhaps her family came up with enough dowry to arrange her marriage to this man who one day would become rich. Unfortunately for her, he grew obstinate and mean. There was no way out for her. She held her head high and helped the household servants, earning their trust. She developed character in the midst of the unhappiness.

When her husband screamed insults at a youthful David and his band of men who had been camping in the wilderness, a big fight would soon take place. Who knew how many would die. Abigail heard the bad news from a trusted servant. Taking matters into her own hands Abigail quickly helped servants amass a large amount of food for David and his men.

Her husband would surely find out and punish her severely. But Abigail herself went with the servants taking the food, approaching the armed men headed through the mountain pass.

She bravely spoke to David, “. . .Your life is safe in the care of the Lord your God . . . but the lives of your enemies will disappear like stones shot from a sling!”

She saved the household from crisis. The mean husband drank himself into a stupor; in ten days he died.
The amazing outcome brought a proposal of marriage from David, and he later became king of Israel. Abigail married a godly man, lived in a palace, had a calling from God to demonstrate her caring in a high position in the kingdom. Her life is a lesson of wisdom, in saying and doing the right thing at the right time. She’s a picture of virtue, fortitude, and graciousness.

What did they have in common?
What did Rahab, Job and Abigail have in common? For one thing, there was no spouse or friend who spoke encouraging words or prayed for them in their dire situation. In our dilemma we might not have backing from others, but we can still pray to be strengthened by the Lord.

They didn’t “tell” God what to do. They didn’t waste time or energy hating the other people who were involved. They were each willing to take a risk.

Read about Rahab in Joshua 2 and 6; Job in the book of Job; Abigail in 1 Samuel 25.

These are only three of many accounts in the Bible where a man or woman was terribly tested beyond what they could have imagined ahead of time.

Remember Daniel, Samson, Deborah. Read the accounts of their problems! (Use the Word Search in which displays 20 Bible versions in English, plus others in foreign languages.)

What can we learn from this?
Today we are challenged to think about the greater outcomes that could be possible if some hideous thing happens us. By the grace of God we can make it though the dark days and nights of testings and peril.

These examples can encourage us to hold on, to rest in God’s arms of love, to trust Him in the worst moments of life.

You and I cannot afford depression or fear or anger. This is the time for prayer, a serious and honest talk with God. It is time for a renewed and solemn commitment to the Lord.

By His wisdom we can say the right thing at the right time, to the right person, and do the right thing at the right time. This goes way beyond apathy or careless childish attitudes. This calls for intelligent bravery.

Those that we love, and even other people we don’t even know will be affected by the decision that we think is ours, alone.

A horrible situation doesn’t have to be permanent. Something wonderful could be on the way, and by faith now we can take new courage, even in the midst of trouble.

Three “precious” verses speak to us.
“How precious are Your thoughts to me, O God. . . “ Psalm 139:17, NKJV
“And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” 2 Peter 1:4 NLT
“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. . . Your faith is far more precious than mere gold. . . ”
 I Peter 1:7, NLT

Your greatest challenge is just ahead.
Events all point to severe economic, social, political disasters. Read the Bible for the words of Jesus, and Old and New Testament prophecies concerning the future. “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads because your redemption draws near.” Luke 21:28.

Settle your faith issues today and be prepared. Let God make you strong!

An eternal blessing awaits believers, and one day we will see Him. Now is the time to trust and obey. With the Lord as our Savior we can face even terrible situations, and He can give us incredible, happy blessings. + + +

by Elaine Hardt ©2009