Sunday, 1 December 2013

Faith and Suffering

We’ve all heard amazing stories of faith in the midst of trials and I don’t just mean little irritants throughout the day but real storms that rock your hope right out from under you!  What is it that keeps these people going?  How is it that they hold on to their faith instead of throwing it out the window?  After all how could a loving God allow his people to suffer?

We in North America have the idea that suffering is bad.  I know I sure don’t like it!  I wonder if we never suffered would we appreciate the good things and good times in our lives?  In Philippians it says to “Give thanks in all things” I know there are other places in the world where people are tried much more deeply than we are here and yet they don’t lose their joy. 
The Bible says Jesus “learned obedience through the things he suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8)
“He was also tempted in every way that we are and overcame.” (Hebrews 2:18)

It is so important when you are in the middle of life’s storms to hold on to God’s promises.  Things WILL change.  God says “He is working everything out for our good”   So how does suffering strengthen our faith in God?    For some people it shatters their faith and yet other’s come out shining as gold!   

What it comes down to is relationship.  How is it that some people like Corrie Ten Boom can live in a concentration camp and not become bitter and others hit a minor trial and give up on God?   How is it that a Christian like Pastor Saeed can be thrown into one of the world’s worse prisons and not throw in the towel?  It’s about more than just heaven and hell.  This is much more than just “fire insurance.”

Well one thing I’ve learned about relationships is that it is not based only on the good times and good things another person can give us.  Real love is give and take.  Real love is patient and kind.  Real love is 1 Corinthians 13.  God wants us to love Him in good times and bad.  (Just like we do our spouses, family and friends)

After talking to several people I have come to the conclusion that it comes from knowing Him intimately; who He is, his character and above all His love.  For me whenever I get into a pity party or feel angry towards God because of my circumstances the love of the cross shatters all of that.   It all comes down to that “Old Rugged Cross”.  The scourging, the whipping, the beating, the mocking, the humiliation of nakedness, the crown of thorns, the nail pierced hands and all He could think about was forgiving His killers!

Although I am so thankful for other believers that keep me encouraged through times of testing, however, it still boggles my mind what some people go through without losing their joy.  I don’t know about you all but I need to get into The Word and in prayer more not because this is a religion based on works but because I really do want to KNOW Him.  I really do want to trust Him no matter what!

A parable based on Words of Wisdom: Malachi 3:3

Refiner and Purifier of Silver
Malachi 3:3 says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." 

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this
statement meant about the character and nature of God. 
One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to
the group at their next Bible Study. 
That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch
him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond
her curiosity about the process of refining silver. 
As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it
heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the
middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot then she thought
again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver." 
She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire
the whole time the silver was being refined. 
The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he
had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver
was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. 
The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you
know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's
easy - when I see my image in it." 

This parable’s author is unknown.

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has His eye on
you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

(If anyone would like to share their testimony with me you can reach me at)

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