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Thursday: Trial by Fire — 9 Comments

  1. Some people do it tough. I think of a family in our extended family who had a child who developed Leukemia around the age of 4. He survived through a rollercoaster of remission and relapse for the next 10 years. Miracles of healing followed by the awful realisation that the disease had returned. Finally, he died and we attended one of the saddest funerals we have experienced. Then just a few years later the mother developed breast cancer and she died.

    Such experiences are not uncommon. I can think of several families who, in spite of being faithful, God-fearing, unselfish, tithe-paying Christians have had not just one but a series of unfortunate, faith-trying events. And, no, their faith did not always grow from the experiences either.

    It is tough and it is unfair. That is what sin is like. For some of us, life is a walk in the park and for others, it is a journey through the valley of the shadow of death.

    What do you say? Anything you say sounds trite and meaningless. I remember a story I read long ago. A woman's husband had died suddenly and the house was full of friends and loved ones all trying to give her words of empathy and encouragement. Suddenly a family member turned up and simply said, "Where is your lawnmower?" Almost in a daze, the wife told him where it was. This family member mowed the lawn and left. Speaking of the event afterwards, the wife said that the outrageous normality of that simple act of kindness gave her her bearings and enabled her to cope with her grief.

    We write books about the problem of pain and suffering because we do not really know the answers. Even the book of Job, our "go-to" scripture on suffering does not really answer the question, other than to say that God suffers with us.

    Perhaps the answer lies not in the multiplicity of words (eg Job's friends and their philosophical discussion) but in the simple actions of someone who cares.

    Paul says this:

    Share each other’s troubles and problems, and so obey our Lord’s command. 3 If anyone thinks he is too great to stoop to this, he is fooling himself. He is really a nobody. Gal 6:2,3 TLB

    • Amen, Bro. Maurice!

      'Remembering how God led the Israelites from Egypt to Canaan. Through my tailor-made trials, pain and disappointment, I am learning to rejoice; trusting that God - my Proven Deliverer who sees around the bend - will bring me through, "... polished after the similitude of a palace." Through it all, my character will be (must be) fit for the heavenly kingdom!

      Praying that this will be the same for each of us. Matthew 6:34; Romans 8:28

    • Hi, Maurice. It's interesting to see differing perspectives. No doubt, God does suffer with us, yet I fail to see where the Book of Job brings this out. I agree that the answer to why God allowed Satan to bring such suffering upon Job is simply not there, except to say that God knows what He is doing, and that He is very intentional in what He allows to come upon His trusting children.

  2. Study asks:
    Imagine that, amid this crisis, Alex comes to you and asks for advice. What would you say? What experiences of your own have you had that could help someone like him?

    The admonition to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes means before judging someone, you must understand his experiences, challenges, thought processes, etc. The full idiom is: Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. In effect, it is a reminder to practice empathy. While long credited as a Native American aphorism, replacing the word shoes with moccasins, the saying almost certainly is derived from a Mary T. Lathrap poem published in 1895. The original title of the poem was Judge Softly, later titled Walk a Mile in His Moccasins.

    Jesus walked in our shoes, he is our way in life, in us.

    The apostle Paul had similar experiences of going through painful situations, and took note from Jesus, that it was necessary for him to suffer, not necessaly for him, but for those in his care, as a good Shepard.

    My words would be insufficient, so, I copied this from the internet as follows:

    Paul needs every ounce of courage because of the heavy sufferings he knows his work will bring. “The Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and persecutions are waiting for me,” (Acts 20:23) he says. He is kidnapped (Acts 21:27), beaten (Acts 21:30-31; 23:3), threatened (Acts 22:22; 27:42), arrested many times (Acts 21:33; 22:24, 31; 23:35; 28:16), accused in lawsuits (Acts 21:34; 22:30; 24:1-2; 25:2, 7; 28:4), interrogated (Acts 25:24-27), ridiculed (Acts 26:24), ignored (Acts 27:11), shipwrecked (Acts 27:41) and bitten by a viper (Acts 28:3). Tradition says that Paul is eventually put to death for his work, although this is not recounted anywhere in the Bible.

    And some more from internet ..

    Leadership in a broken world entails suffering. Anyone who will not accept suffering as an essential element of leadership cannot be a leader, at least not a leader in the way God intends. In this, we see another radical refutation of the Roman patronage system. The Roman system is structured to insulate the patron from suffering. Patrons alone, for example, had the right to escape bodily violation, as we see when Paul’s status as a citizen (a patron, albeit of a household of one) is the only thing that protects him from an arbitrary flogging (Acts 22:29). Paul nonetheless embraces bodily suffering, along with many other forms, as the necessity of a leader in Jesus’ way. Today, we may seek to become leaders for the same reason men in ancient Rome sought to exercise patronage—to avoid suffering. We might succeed in gaining power and perhaps even insulating ourselves from the hurts of the world. But our leadership cannot benefit others if we will not accept hurt to ourselves to a greater or lesser degree. And if our leadership does not benefit others, it is not God’s kind of leadership

    And again:
    because of his discovery that to suffer is to..

    #partake in the salvic suffering of Christ for the benefit of the church.#

    Suffering has meaning and dignity because of its redemptive power and spiritual significance in the context of the sacrifice and passion of Christ.

    I would share my experiences of trials, and temptations,and help from Jesus to restore me, even to the point of #thinking# I sinned the unpardonable SIN !

    There go I go, but for the grace God.

    Pray for those in leadership!

    Come back to Jesus and his salvation in you ?

  3. I am not good with giving advice to people who have had such a terrible time,I am a concrete thinker.
    So I would say having a difficult time doesn't mean you don't have a calling, look at Paul 2Cor 11:23-27.
    However don't give up on your relationship with the LORD.
    Take a break and reassess the LORD's plan for your life.

    • What I wrote in my quarterly was not as eloquent as your comment. Drop out of school for awhile and get a job. Part time school, full time life.

  4. The Apostle Paul made a living from making tents. His working for the Gospel Message was for free. Maybe the advice to someone like that brother is to tell him to go learn a trade like painting, or carpentry, or roofing, etc. and etc. and work for the Gospel Message for free like the Apostle Paul did. That is what I do. I am a Licensed Painting Contractor and I witness for Jesus for free.

    • Yup ...
      Paul worked and payed his own way in his ministry, not to burden his flock with his expenses.

      The only money Paul asked for, was for the apostles in Jerusalem, as promised in his meeting with them in Jerusalem.
      Galatians 2:1-10

      We see preachers on TV with a false gospel of financial wealth and walk in the way of Baalam. Prophet for money !

      Brother in Christ
      Keep on trucking (meme)


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