IN THIS WORLD YOU WILL HAVE TROUBLE...REALLY?
Today in church the pastor quoted Jesus' words from John 16:33“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Then he added a quote from C.S. Lewis
What then can God do in our interests but make our own life less agreeable to us and take away the plausible source of false happiness? –C.S. Lewis
and...didn't stop there. After a sprinkle of not so pleasant stories on human suffering he continued with A.W. Tozer “Whom God will use greatly, He will wound deeply.”
Like the precise pounding of a nail he hammered a truth in...WE WILL SUFFER. He ended with the assurance of God's love, strength and power, some great victory stories and this quote from John Wesley, "God understands our innermost being and knows what we need."
The congregation grew oddly silent…uncomfortable. Who likes to hear that life will bring sorrow?
You are probably reading this blog today because you are suffering, because there are hardships galore, because your world is indeed troubled. I am here to encourage. For if the Bible, C.S Lewis, A.W. Tozer and John Wesley are right (and I believe they are) than there is both purpose and a way through your current pain.
Firstly, take heart…Jesus said that He has overcome the world and all its tragedy. Though evil choices count for approximately 80% of all human suffering, and you are undoubtedly suffering, betrayal does not need to define your future. Yes, you will go through a time of grief and sorrow, there is no way to circumvent this process, but I promise you, God can heal. Call out to him, pray, saturate your life with the word of God, and surround yourself with people who will continually point you toward Him. The pain will lesson.
Secondly, consider the possibility that sometimes God takes away the “agreeable” as C.S. Lewis quotes, to take away a false sense of security or happiness. I know I depended far too much on my husband for both security and happiness. When my world crumbled and I found my marriage defiled, I had to shift my thinking. My husband had failed miserably and I could no longer run to him for comfort. God became my rock.
I made a choice early on to believe that God was still somehow in control. In those first months, in fact few years, I lived by faith, but did not feel it
. I choose to believe in a good God even though my life felt anything but good. At times I railed and pouted. Other times I shouted and yes, even screamed at God. How could the result of 25 years of praying for my husband to come back to a life of faith, involve adultery? Intellectually I understood that God had given my husband free will, but I resented it. If humans were incapable of goodness, than why give them choice?
I wrestled through many a question and was far from perfect, but in the end found a peace not my own. For God did understand my innermost being, the pain, the loss, the sorrow. He understood from the moment I entered this world what I was destined to live through. (Not that He wanted David to fail, God just knew he would.) He also knew what was best for me, how I would grow spiritually having to rely on Him, and how my pain would help others through theirs.
The truth...God’s power is sufficient to walk through any fire and emerge stronger, but we hate the thought of suffering. I know I never want to go back to that painful place, however, I do feel privileged every time God uses my story to help people find hope and healing. I know then, that God can use all things for His glory, even what Satan intended for destruction. If we give God our sorrow the pain will not be wasted and we will not have room for bitterness.
You may feel wounded today, but there is purpose in the pain. Spiritual growth will blossom and the way God will use your story this side of heaven is a mere shadow of the glory prepared for you beyond this worldly door…so remain faithful dear one even when you do not understand.