I have been bought by the blood of Christ. By His stripes we are healed. No good thing will He withhold from them that love Him. God loves us and since He does, how can He allow us to be poor, sick, oppressed, die... at the hand of our enemies or by nature or even by friends?
How often have we heard these statements come from the lips of a fellow believer. Perhaps they have come from our own lips from time to time. It is usually assumed that God would never allow us to be harmed. After all, isn't He our Father. What father or mother would see their children poor, sick, oppressed by others or perhaps to even die? How then can we think of God allowing those things to happen to us? It just doesn't make any sense.
With that kind of thinking we set the stage for the destruction of our faith. As with all things that come from God there are two sides to the coin. For those who know a bit of computer programming it is the statements... If... Then. Too often when things are reasonably well with us we take the word of God and look at all the good things that He says. We pass over the troubling statements because we feel within ourselves that the warnings do not apply to us. We ignore the If...
If we ignore God's way Then we will reap what we sow. Gal 6.7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. This is the bottom line premise to all that God does. Or is it?
You see, these very things happened to that saint of old and what does this man of God say; job 5.17 "Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty."
At that time in the earth there was no one as faithful and righteous as Job. He even sacrificed on the behalf of his sons and daughters just in case they may have unknowingly sinned. Yet God allowed Satan to strike Job with all the "Then's". Why? Because God saw in Job a character flaw that needed to be addressed. When he was struck by all these things at the hand of Satan and the corrections and rebukes from his friends, he stood on his righteous living and demanded that God make an account of why He let this happen. After all... he didn't deserve all that happened to him and believed that God must answer for these actions.
Behold... God showed up. Behold... God did not answer Him. Behold... God did not explain Himself.
What did God do? Simply asked Job where were you when... He created all things and tamed all things. God spoke of His wonders and power and glory. Then Job humbled himself and knew that God need not answer any man or give an account of His actions. He understood that he had no right to demand an answer. Upon Job's repentance all things were finally restored to him. Later God does reveal the reason behind His actions so that man can better understand His ways and reasoning. But this came after the trial and his restoration.
Ask Job if that lesson was worth it all... again... job 5.17 “Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty.
This was done without the benefit of "If... Then...", but simply to correct someone who was righteous in all that he did. This to correct a character flaw and not Job's actions.
One minute though, that was the old testament and we are under a new covenant with better promises. We would not be treated the same way as God did with Job. Hmmm... You believe that you are sons and daughters of God? What does God say about being His son or daughter?
heb 12.7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.
Why on earth would He do such with us today? Do we not have His Spirit living within us?
There is a big difference between having the Holy Spirit within us and being trained by the same Spirit. heb 12.11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. His children are being trained to be warriors of righteousness. Trained to stand against all that is evil. To partake in the same work of Jesus... to destroy the works of the Devil, in our lives and in the world at large through the testimony of our life in Jesus Christ and in the power of His Spirit.
So is that all? To kick Satan in the teeth? To fight?
Not at all. The chief point is to prepare a bride for our Lord. Without spot or wrinkle. True that He robes us in His righteousness but I ask you what is beneath the robe? Is sin still in the heart? Rebellion and mistrust in the folds of our character? That too must be dealt with through walking and abiding with Jesus. If it takes using the things in the world and our bodies to correct us then He will use them. In the grand scheme of things the world and our bodies are but a small price to pay.
2 cor 4.16Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Be assured that God who loves you will do all that He can to prepare you and make you fit for the time of the wedding of the bride to Jesus. He will strengthen us. He will not let us be tested above that which we are able to bear. He has given us His Spirit and power. He died for you. In all things we have been made more than conquerors. Yet God's purpose and goal for your life will mean training, correction and sometimes hardship. Should we complain or murmur like the children of Israel in the wilderness? Remember... that generation did not enter the promised land.
So remember ... jam 1.2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
One last note... would God allow you to be killed? Ask those who were in Rome and being burned alive on the cross or fed to wild beast in the arena. Ask the Apostles who were beheaded, crucified or slain in many other ways. There may come a point of torture and death for the cause of Christ. If... you follow God through all your trials then... rev12.11 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
What better cloud of witnesses to join? So make up your mind to follow Him, abide in Him, through all your trials and tribulations, through your afflictions, even death. When they come, trust in Him who purchased you with His own blood.
May the peace that surpasses all understanding be yours as you learn to follow and abide in Jesus through all the afflictions which come your way. Working out your salvation to its radiant completion in Him.
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