Suffering, Uncategorized

Earnest HOPE in a hopeless world

But God

 

To hope … how does one find hope in a world that seems to be ripping apart at the seems?  How do you explain hope when all seems so bleak and dark???

The last few weeks have seemed pretty dark here in a country that sells the “American Dream.”  You really can’t find a lot of good news, really, you can’t!  We are bombarded on every side — seemingly thwarted in our pursuit of happiness and the American Dream.  Political advertisements that run hatefully, hourly, and quite destructively.  Hostility is at a premium…you can get some here!

Let’s not forget the refugee crisis and the sea of people flooding across the desert mountains of Mexico…all looking for a better life, hope for their children…the American Dream.  What does that look like for them??  A home with a two-car garage, good schools, plenty of food, healthcare, and a reason to hope?  Hope in what???  When you are fleeing life, there isn’t much to run to…or hope in…is there??

I don’t think so…what about the poverty-stricken imprisoned within our own borders?  What of the children who go to school every.single.day with their bellies hollow and their hopes even hollower.  Where is their American Dream and apple pie and healthcare and hope??  Where do they flee to and who would open their arms to receive them???

It’s down right bleak, huh?  I guess if you look at it the way I’ve told it, it is the epitome of hopelessness.  Yet…and yet, there is HOPE!  There is…just look:

In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 6:17-20 NASB)

Jesus is Hope — He is Hope every time for every need through every heartache.  Hebrews tells us of this Hope.

Did you read that weary one??  We who are refugees have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.  It is an anchor for us — sure and steadfast — Jesus is our HOPE!

So, as you sojourn through the desert mountains of Mexico,  in the traffic jam in Los Angeles, the remnants of Hurricanes and Tsunamis, the lava flows of Hawaii, the fire-engorged valleys of California, out on the sidewalk in front of an abortion clinic, at the foot of your beloved’s casket at the cemetery, in a divorce court you never thought would come, in the confusion of political ads and double-speak…take heart…Hope in Christ.  He came to make us refugees no longer!  He bought us with a great price.  Earnestly hope in Him — when you feel there is no more hope — Hope in Him!

 

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Suffering, Uncategorized

…but, for their salvation and HIS Glory?

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Is the suffering worth it, if they come to Christ?

That was the question…”Is your suffering worth it, if just one comes to Christ?”  He answered my question with a question.

My question, “Why does God allow people to suffer and die?  Why does he allow little girls to be molested and sexually abused?  Why does he allow boys and girls to be human-trafficked?  Why did he allow the last two years of her life to be filled with pain and suffering? Why did HE allow a young man to put a gun in my face and threaten to kill me?”

I supposed I was asking a rhetorical question…one of those, “Yes, I know God is sovereign…yes, I know He can do as He pleases…yes, I know about Job!”  But, my heart screams, “WHY?”

He answered with a non-rhetorical question…a question rightly deserving the right answer…a question that really asked what God asked Job, “Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?” (Job 40:8)  Dave asked, “Tammi — is the suffering worth it, if one comes to Christ?”

Like Job, I felt shame…who am I to question a holy God?  Yes, of course, Dave…of course, LORD, it is well worth it!  Just at the time of the hurting and the darkness and the unending pain…at the time of utter exhaustion and grief and devastation…I forgot myself.  Instead, I sought HIM…I begged of HIM…why, LORD, please help this child understand?

In complete surrender, I bow and confess my ignorance:

“I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset your plans. You asked,’ Who is this muddying the water, ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’ I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me, made small talk about wonders way over my head. You told me, ‘Listen, and let me do the talking. Let me ask the questions.’ You give the answers. I admit I once lived by rumors of you; now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears! I’m sorry—forgive me. (Job 42:2-6)

I don’t think God really minds my questions…HE certainly understands my heart…HE gave us Job’s account because HE understands that we would ask from time-to-time.  The lesson to be learned is that God does know, HE is not unaware of the suffering, and HE is acquainted with our sorrow.

Suffering has a purpose…it is for our good and HIS GLORY!  In Genesis 50:19-20 Joseph said it best, “But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not fear, for am I in the place of God?
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.'”

The truth is that I am not Job or Joseph…I’m just Tam.  My heart hurts for so many things and I don’t have all of the answers to all of the whys…I don’t even really have some of them.  I only know that God must love me quite a lot to allow HIS Son, Jesus, to die on the Cross of Calvary for me.  He has entrusted me with the Mysteries of Himself and then, in that great love, has allowed me and others who know HIM to suffer a bit so that others can witness HIS grace and love measured through us in that suffering.

We are funnels of HIS love — we were created in His image to KNOW HIM and then to love others by allowing them to see us walk through the messes in life…somehow with grace…but all for HIS Glory.  So, the question is….

IS THE SUFFERING WORTH IT, IF THEY COME TO CHRIST?

ANSWER:  YES, LORD, YES!