Friday, April 26, 2013

The Ugly Side of Trials

In the book of Job we find a man that gets slammed from all sides.  He is a "righteous" man and yet God allows satan to test him.  He loses his children, his livestock, his crops, his health - on and on it goes.  The devil takes everything from him except his own life.  Job handles most of it with faith and a grace that I have yet to accomplish.  But finally, in the later chapters of the book he let's it all out and complains to God.  Questioning Him and demanding answers.  
I bring this up simply because as I read back over my last few entries about my back surgery, it fails to relate how I reacted when I finally realized that I could not strong-arm my way out of surgery.  It was going to happen, my life interrupted and it was not what I had planned.  
I used to look at Pastors and think, wow, they really have it all together!  Ha! That's before I became one.  You know Pastors are human too and have all the same issues, temptations, and trials that others do.  So, how did I react?  I cried out to God, I screamed at Him, I questioned whether or not He loved me!  I wanted to know what I had done to deserve this!  
Now, as I think about being a parent though, I remember times when my own sons came to me, mad about a curfew, convinced that I was ruining their lives, hurt that they had to go through something they didn't want to do.  It didn't bother me when they came to me like this - I encouraged it.  They are, after all, my sons that I love with all my heart.  Why would I not want them to talk to me, even if it meant hearing unhappy things?  They were relating their fears and their worries to me and it gave me the chance to respond.
That's how God is with us.  I am His child and it's OK to let Him know how I feel, even if it's bad.  The key, though, is when I'm done having my fit, I need to be quiet and hear what He has to say.  No one benefits from one-sided conversations; we need to hear from our Father.  He is a calming force during the storm of emotions we feel.  He is a gentle hand on our shoulder, open arms that we can run into with a love strong enough to heal our souls.
So in Job God responds to Job's complaints by asking, "Where were you when I created this earth?"  "Who is more capable than me to handle all things?"  
As I contemplate that I am reminded that God is sovereign - He is ALMIGHTY.  No One is bigger than my God.  In response to my screams and tears about having yet another surgery, I heard Him say, "I know about pain, I understand sacrifice, I've experienced loss.  My son was fully man and fully God, yet he was tempted and tormented in every aspect possible for a human to experience.  Hold onto me Patty and I will see you through.  I will always be your Father and I love you."  You know, that's pretty awesome!  I can't imagine how people go through things like this without God.  His hands are bigger than any problem we could encounter.  Only God...Only God.  

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