Laying my spiritual pride at the altar has helped me heal.

I grew up in a Christian environment and having not experienced any great pain like the loss of a loved one in my life while I was growing up; I believed just like many Christians do; that bad things happen to bad people and good people who know God are not supposed to experience any pain. This spiritual pride (that I was good and deserved nothing like pain in my life;) is what almost led me astray from my Heavenly Father’s love after the departure of our son through an over speeding car accident almost a month after I lost my dad through a liver cancer. It is only after laying down this spiritual pride at the altar that I was able to overcome this grief trap.

Well, we are all not deserving of anything good and can never “earn” God’s favor. It’s only by God’s grace through faith–Jesus’ death and resurrection–that we are made acceptable to Him. And God always acts in our best interest, always. He is never “out to get us.” (See Ephesians 2:8-9). But if you’ve never asked why our world is infected with pain and suffering, you will when they strike you with full force or they come to a loved one. And Jesus said they are coming. Unlike some other religious leaders who wrote off pain and suffering as just being illusions, Jesus was honest. He told us the truth. He said in John 16:33, “You will have suffering in this world.” He didn’t say you might – he said it is going to happen. But always remember it’s not just that God knows and sympathizes with you in your troubles. After all, any close friend can do that. Any close friend can sit beside you and comfort you and empathize with you. No, Jesus is much closer than your closest friend. Because if you’ve put your trust in Him, then He is in you. And, therefore, your sufferings are His sufferings; your sorrow is His sorrow.

Suffering is a personal problem; it demands a personal response. And God isn’t some distant, detached, and disinterested deity; He entered into our world and personally experienced our pain. Jesus is there in the lowest places of our lives. So when tragedy strikes, as it will; when suffering comes, as it will; when you’re wrestling with pain, as you will – and when you make the choice to run into His arms, here’s what you’re going to discover: you’ll find peace to deal with the present, you’ll find courage to deal with your future, and you’ll find the incredible promise of eternal life in heaven. For those of us who may have lost their loved ones; it is okay to ask many questions like I used to do before I came to this level of spiritual maturity. Why would God allow that? As you ask these many questions remember from scriptures; From God’s perspective, that life is not lost.  God is able to restore our loved ones life who died believing in Him. So no loss is suffered on the part of the loved one.  Life is not lost to the One who can restore it!

What about the grief that parents, friends and family experience?  In our loss, the presence of God is available for us to experience His strength, His comfort, His sustaining love and assurance in the face of the evil that exists.  God sustains those who grieve for those He calls to Himself.

What about the skeptics, who wonder how a loving God could allow such a thing?  The taking home of a loved one especially a child to be with God can awaken in the most hardened of skeptics the moral reality of God. In asking “How could you God?”, it presupposes a moral authority who chooses the “hows” of life, the “hows” that it works by. I cannot stand in the shoes of God and give a complete answer to that question. I don’t have God’s mind. I don’t see with God’s eyes. First Corinthians 13:12 says, “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” So whether it’s the child, family or skeptic…all have a witness of the reality of God.  The existence of evil points to the reality of a God who can overcome even the bad.  And we’d want no less a God.

His mercies are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23) This is our reminder to live life one day at a time. God did not say every year, but he said every morning. So look with anticipation to His grace that is sufficient for today and tomorrow will take care of itself.

This is reality. We are in the grip of God’s grace and mercy that will keep our hearts and minds. Let us run and not get weary, walk and not faint, (Isaiah 40:31) because our help is in the name of the Lord.

The Old Testament gives us a great example in the story of Joseph, who went through terrible suffering, being sold into slavery by his brothers, unfairly accused of a crime and falsely imprisoned. Finally, after a dozen years, he was put in a role of great authority where he could save the lives of his family and many others.

This is what he said to his brothers in Genesis 50:20: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” And if you’re committed to God, He promises that He can and will take whatever pain you’re experiencing and draw something good from it.

You might say, “No, he can’t in my circumstance. The harm was too great, the damage was too extreme, the depth of my suffering has been too much. No, in my case there’s no way God can cause any good to emerge.”

But if you doubt God’s promise, listen to what a wise man once said “God took the very worst thing that has ever happened in the history of the universe — deicide, or the death of God on the cross — and turned it into the very best thing that has happened in history of universe: the opening up of heaven to all who follow Him.” So if God can take the very worst circumstance imaginable and turn it into the very best situation possible, can he not take the negative circumstances of your life and create something good from them?

He can and He will. God can use our suffering to draw us to Himself, to mold and sharpen our character, to influence others for Him – He can draw something good from our pain in a myriad of ways…if we trust and follow Him.

Comforting thought for the day

One philosopher said: “I believe all suffering is at least potential good, an opportunity for good. It’s up to our free choice to actualize that potential. Not all of us benefit from suffering and learn from it, because that’s up to us, it’s up to our free will.”

Our prayer for you today

Lord I put my spiritual pride down and take your humility casting all my cares upon You for You care for me. It is recognizing I am not almighty or omnipotent...that I have a need for You and Your guidance and help.  I want to be a person who gains honor in Your sight.  So help me to not be too proud to ask for help, from You , or from others. Father, help me to remember in my impatience, that the end of a matter is better than its beginning , and patience is better than pride ( Eccl 7:8) . I pray this through the sacred name of Jesus Christ.