"Where did you see His light today?" This is a question our Pastor gently asks when one is going through very tough times.
When I read the book of Job I think, "What faith! I want to be like Job regardless of what happens in my life. Even if ...
- all the "stuff" that makes up my home is damaged
- emergency savings and finances down the drain
- entire home is gone
- long invested career is in shambles
- children are killed
- friends and spouse make me doubt my faith and God
- my body is pressed and worn from all sides deteriorating
- my logic reasons that my God has abandoned me
Satan wants temptation and suffering to happen to us for one reason - to weaken our faith to the point that it separates us from our God. Forever. Satan knows our dearest treasures and starts there to trip us up.
God allows temptation and suffering to happen to us for one reason - to strengthen our faith to the point that it unifies us to Himself in His suffering AND His glory.
Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name! John 12:27-28
God allows temptations but doesn't leave us alone to battle them. We can bear the temptation because He is with us. Look for the Light.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. I Corinthians 10:13
God allows suffering. Sometimes even to the point where we CANNOT handle it! Why? This is where He steps in and overcomes the suffering for us. We have no words except - "That could have happened only by the hand of the LORD!" Look for the Light.
Do I think Job was tempted to curse God like his wife "advised" him? Do you think he doubted his faith was good enough when his closest "friends" questioned it? Do you think Job was tempted to put the blame for his children's death on his own head as if it were a punishment from God? YES! But look at the passage above again. Do you see it? GOD IS FAITHFUL.
When we are in the dark zone of spiritual, emotional, or physical war in our lives, remember Job's story. And most importantly - God is faithful.
When we feel alone - don't trust those feelings! trust God's promises! - we aren't alone. God is right there with us. Hebrews 13:5
God may choose to show us His light in a variety of ways. Perhaps it is through the comfort of a friend, a song that brings peace to your anxious thoughts, a gesture of kindness such as a dinner brought to you, a generous check appears in your mailbox, a sunset that leaves you in awe of God's creation, the stunned doctors whose diagnosis was reversed... and other ways that I can not limit Him to a list. However, we know we can find His light in His Word always. Many of the psalms relate to the soul crying out to the Lord and his faithfulness. Psalm 77:1-20
And when God wills that our time is done in this foreign world. Take heart! Jesus has overcome temptation completely. He has overcome suffering even to the point of death - completely forsaken by His Father. Jesus has overcome this world! John 16:33
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5
Be encouraged, friends. Even in the face of darkness there is light. Jesus is the light. John 8:12
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:32-39