Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Simple Reminder

If you had the power to write the story of your life and submit it to God for execution, I highly doubt you would script any trials, struggles, or pain. We are creatures of comfort. We don't want to hurt or experience suffering. We are as adverse to pain as Cousin Eddie is to a job or James Harden is to a razor.

In fact, this aversion to pain has led many to believe the blessing of God in our lives is incompatible with suffering or loss. The idea goes like this: God's blessing in my life equals relatively pain-free living and smooth sailing. Pain and struggle must mean God is displeased with me.

This could not be further from the truth. This false thinking has come into our minds from poor teaching in churches and pink-haired ladies on TV.

God's love for you is not measured in your level of pain.

God's blessing and favor is not determined by your trials.

I was reminded of this truth when reading from Genesis this week. In Genesis 35, we see God protects Jacob as he travels through rivaling cities who could try to plunder Jacob's possessions. Jacob does not fear and describes God as "the God who answers me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone." (vs 3). This is an incredible promise and hope that Jacob clings to. And it was true.

But later in Genesis 35 we see that Jacob's wife, Rachel, is having their son Benjamin, Rachel dies in childbirth. In an instant, Jacob's wife is dead.

Though God's blessing and favor are clearly over Jacob, Rachel dies giving birth. Trials and tribulations are a part of life for all of us. Trials in our life and God's presence and favor in our life, are not two separate lives, but one.

I don't know what you are going through today or what trials are consuming your thoughts and emotions, but I know God wants you to seek Him in them. I don't know what hurt you are processing, but I know that Jesus wants you to process it at His feet. 

A simple reminder today: God's pleasure with you and His favor in your life is not indicated by the trials you suffer. When you face trials of many kinds, rejoice, for God is working in them to mature you and grow your faith (James 1:2-4). Remember that Jesus' grace is sufficient for you in all things (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Never mistake trials for God's abandonment or displeasure of you. The world is broken due to sin. In this world you will experience trials and tribulations. But take heart, Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33).

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