Its a Rocky Road to Heaven

The news is horrible for anyone to hear: a 16 year old dead in a horrible freak accident.  And of course the questions immediately follow: why?  how could God let this happen?

It is another painful reminder that we all deal with tragedies. We all deal with pain and suffering.  We all face the devil.

Today two verses overtake me:

No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it.

1 Corinthians 10:13

God loves us.  He does not set trials in our path.  He does not want us to be hurt.  But the trade off with allowing us to have free will is — He has to allow us to use it.  He does not control us or the people around us.  What kind of life would that be?  We would be no different than robots.  We are God’s children and as His children we grow in strength and maturity.  The way we grow is by facing trials big and small.  Think about your own children: if we do everything for them, how will they grow?  If we never let them make mistakes, how will they learn?  It is terribly hard sometimes because we want to protect them, we don’t want them to be hurt, but at the same time, we have to let them go to discover things on their own, to make their own choices and sometimes suffer the consequences.  Imagine how God must feel with all of us.  Yes, He could put us in a bubble, but how would that be for any of us?  How would we grow?  How would we truly know what joy and love are if we never experience the pain?  We appreciate the sun, when we experience the rain.  (and we appreciate the Son, when we experience the pain.)

Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  But if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it.  But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind.

James 1:2–6

God may not fix every situation for us, but He is there with us, and if we are open to it, if we ask, He guides us with a way out.  Some trials may take a lot of perseverance.  Some may feel devastating and it may seem like the pain will never end, but God is there.

I have often wondered, if He loves us how can he allow us to suffer so much pain.  The idea of us allowing our own child to die seems unfathomable.  So how can God?  As I read Corinthians this morning this thought came to me:  our trials, our pain, our suffering is human.  They are not eternal.  Our life on earth is meant to be temporary (indeed we all must die to experience eternal life).  It is like when we watch our own child play a board game or video game.  They may make mistakes.  They may lose or their player may “die”.  They may even be heartbroken (I remember throwing a board game because I was so upset).  But as parents we know that these challenges are little ones.  As they get older, we watch them with their first girlfriend or boyfriend, we see them make mistakes, we see the heart break — they may feel devastated.  They may feel like they can never move on.  Although it is sometimes painful to watch, as parents we expect it and we know it will be ok because they are still young and there are bigger things in store for them.  Similarly, God knows that our entire life on earth whether it is 2 minutes or 102 years, is just a small blip in our eternity.  We are all still young.  We are all still children.  He knows we will be ok.  Because, if we let Him, He has bigger things in store for us.

God,

Thank you for giving us free will.  Sometimes it feels like it would be easier if you would take it away and control the world around us.  Sometimes it feels like the world is more than we can take.  Help us to always see the light and the hope no matter how dark or painful the things on earth may seem.  Help us to share the light and hope with others.  Help us to persevere through any trial and to know that this world is temporary and so is every struggle.  Help us to know that you never leave our side.

 

Perseverance in challenging times

We all face trials.  We all face struggles.  I know some of you are facing some right now:

Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  But if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it.  But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind.  For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, since he is a man of two minds, unstable in all his ways.

James 1:2-8

Looking back, my biggest trials have also brought me my greatest joys.  They have also brought me closer to God.  Of course it is hard to see that when we are in the midst of them.  Perseverance can be hard.  God wants good for us.  We just don’t always choose it.

 Blessed is the man who perseveres in temptation, for when he has been proved he will receive the crown of life that he promised to those who love him.  No one experiencing temptation should say, “I am being tempted by God”; for God is not subject to temptation to evil, and he himself tempts no one.  Rather, each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.  Then desire conceives and brings forth sin, and when sin reaches maturity it gives birth to death.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers: all good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.   He willed to give us birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

James 1:12-18

It is easy to say we have faith.  It is easy to say we love God.  Through our perseverance, through our faith, we discover that we actually do.

Dear God, help me to persevere.  Help me to follow your good path.  Help those who are facing challenges, new adventures and trials know that you are near.  Help them to persevere and follow the path that you have set forth for them.  You give us fresh starts, new birth, life.  Help us to live it in a way that leads us to you.

 

Perseverance

Perseverence.  I love this word.  The last few days I have spent in multiple different hotel rooms.  None of them quite comfortable.  I have lost power, had plans changed repeatedly and quickly by the weather and have otherwise just been discombobulated. I am sitting in an airport now ready to travel to another city.  No hope of seeing my own bed or home until the end of the week.  I have struggled to get my computer connected to the various hotel wi fi’s, but I think I have finally figured out how to blog on my phone!(clearly I am technologically challenged!)

And this is where God led me today:

Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  But if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it.  But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind.  For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord since he is a man of two minds, unstable in all his ways.

James 1:2-8

Just what I needed.

Lord,

I come to you in complete faith knowing that you will grant me what I need. I recognize that you know what I need better than I do. Provide me with the wisdom and Perseverence to lead the life you have planned for me.