Marla has been giving us some great prompts for further discussion. This week she writes:
On page 111, Kary writes, “With Jacob’s situation in mind, we might wonder why God allows his children to remain in painful places.” He says that one answer would be that “times of testing instill character development.” What are some other reasons God might allow his children to remain in painful places? And do you have a personal example?I'm not sure where the idea got started that God's main purpose is to make His followers comfortable got started. Crack open your Bible and show me one place where it says that.
Jesus certainly didn't live a plush, cushy life. He was born into a working class family and in the last days of His life here on Earth He was abandoned by most of His close friends, to die a horrible death.
Maybe its a lesson I need to better learn, because its a topic that's come up in a lot of books I've been reading lately. Whether it be giving up material possessions (Radical by David Platt) or giving up my pride (From Blushing Bride to Wedded Wife by Marla Taviano) or even stepping out of my comfort zone (Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall &Denver Moore ) the call of Christianity is to put off self and serve.
Having said all that, I will reiterate my point from last week - its easy for me to stay. I'm not the one struggling from week to week wondering how I'm going to cover the bills. (When my parents were in this situation they made a careful effort to keep my sister and I in the dark.) I've never been abused or homeless.
Sure I've had heart ache. There was that time I rebelled against God and dated someone I knew I shouldn't. While I can't be certain that ache outbreak wasn't a smite from God, it certainly cleared up once said bad boy dumped me.
I've lost beloved grandparents, who'd lived long full lives and died of illnesses brought on by old age.
My one experience with true pain - that moment where God has to hold you because you don't have the strength to stand - ended in a beautiful miracle of God. My sister, at the age of 27, suffered congestive heart failure after the birth of her first child.
She spent several days in Cardiac ICU and had to have pounds of fluid drained from around her heart. While her husband and my parents stayed spent as much time as the hospital as they could, I stayed at home with her 6 day old baby. I'd never baby sat, or even really been around small children.
My best friend was knocking on death's door and I was alone, with no one to comfort me but this creature that kept spitting up and pooping.
And the Maker of the Universe.
I have no clue why we got a miracle. Why God chose to resort my sister's health leaving behind no ill effects. But I know without a doubt God used those days to change me. He opened my eyes to my ability to serve despite experience or even willingness.
I can only pray that the next time one of those devastatingly painful moments come - I'll better know how to rely on Him for strength and wisdom.
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