Given today’s daily events, we can often feel as if we are walking through a field of land mines. These feelings may stir up chronic depression or fear.
On top of these unwanted annoyances, a crisis may be swirling around us that causes great physical and emotional pain. For example, ill-treatment, shame, sickness, unstable finances, a recent loss of a loved one or friend, a long-term mental condition like PTSD, or a hereditary mental disorder.
Over a prolonged period, any one of these lethal gremlins may lead to depression, drugs, or even suicide. Depending upon the severity, they might be expressed as suffering. There are multiple definitions of suffering, but among the most easily recognizable descriptions are: sad, tormented, miserable, and in pain.
If you experience suffering, your major focus becomes ridding yourself of the pain associated with its arrival. Will addictive drugs, alcohol, psychologist prescribed drugs or sex be the answer? It’s unlikely. They only function in the way a room freshener would temporarily cover an odor that will eventually drift to the surface.
Throughout biblical history, there have been numerous stories of suffering. People endured hatred, bigotry, persecution, crucifixion, jealousy, poverty, financial ruin, hunger, lies, imprisonment, and incurable illness. However, the good news was the outcome of victory within each account.
No one wants to experience chronic pain of any kind. When we experience emotional pain, depression is always waiting in the wings to make its entrance into our souls. It is a dark and unkind enemy to faith. For this reason, the principle of suffering is one of the most difficult to accept as part of our life journey.
Choosing a different view of suffering will equip us with a powerful weapon to expel depression. When negative circumstances arise, accept them as God’s way of changing our inward character, thinking, attitude, and our hearts.
By now, some of you are cynically thinking that’s just “religious mush.” I get that--I really do! Just remember that God loves us unconditionally. He wants us to have an “abundant life.” (John 10:10) There are no rewards for Him in allowing us to suffer needlessly. He does not need us to supply anything to Him, but He does desire that we recognize Him as our source for every need.
If you are a parent, you want to train and discipline your children. Would you buy them ice cream and chocolate bars every time they were unruly? No! You want to support them in learning the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behavior. They must be able to experience an uncomfortable consequence from you for their behavior. They will gain wisdom from your chastening. God’s discipline always protects and restores.
God has provided a one-of-a-kind antidote against depression. Suffering allows God to develop character, creativity, wisdom, patience, and faith within us.
While waiting on Him to eliminate the negative circumstance or situation, we are not Humpty Dumpty wall sitters. Instead, we focus on noteworthy and admiral things that cause a change in our thoughts and companions. Avoid ceaseless negative thinking that becomes permanent interference with God’s purpose and plans for us. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Let the grace and love of God sustain you in all things. Thank Him for shaping and molding you; thank Him for strengthening and disciplining you and, most of all, rejoice in the magnificent creation you will become!
For many, the economic trend of the country has become quite challenging. According to recent reports, the cost of living for the average family has increased an extra $276.
Recently, I heard a metaphorical remark that someone had to sell one of their children to buy gas. Although this might sound humorous, feeding your family and avoiding homelessness is no laughing matter.
One of the most common phrases “living from paycheck to paycheck” should only be spoken during a scene from an afternoon soap opera. Instead, it has taken a lead role in today’s economic drama. Anxiety and fear have swept in like a cold winter wind, and doubt in the faithfulness and promises of God looms in our minds like an endless video.
Some of us may have faced this situation or similar ones in the past. For others, this may be a new experience. But really, it does not matter. There is no breach in the covenant God made with mankind.
God’s covenant was sworn to by none greater than Himself. (Hebrews 6:13) He would be a liar if He broke His own Word. That would be a conundrum since it is impossible for Him to lie. (Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 6:18)
God’s promises are guaranteed through His covenant. God would never leave the care of His creations and the fulfillment of His promises in the hands of mankind. He is the only one who is able and who will fill every need. (Philippians 4:19)
Contracts made by His creations contain buckets of clauses and loopholes, making them debatable and subject to change. Even our great Constitution is frequently subject to the decision of a nine-judge panel.
Quite often when we speak of His promises, our minds quickly create images of a “get out of debt” windfall, a line of credit, or an entitlement based on notions of deserving. We have been conditioned to believe that economic success is based on wealth, ownership, fame, and pleasure. Flash!!! It is time to alter this view.
Although His promises are secure, they come with certain accessories of responsibility:
There is nothing in this three-dimensional world that can compete with, or rival God’s promises—health, prosperity, peace, love, success, healing, forgiveness, and eternal life. (3 John 2; John 3:16; Joshua 1:7). However, the fruit of His covenant is only released when we bypass the shaky road and choose the narrow road where we are guaranteed a bumper harvest.
Our daily endurance and our eternal existence depend upon our choice!