By Pastor Mitch Horton | April 2003 | Posted in • Archives | (0) Comments
Before we even begin the subject, let me define the parameters of what we’re discussing. GOD DOES NOT SEND SICKNESS, ACCIDENTS, DISASTERS, CAR WRECKS, ETC., UPON HIS PEOPLE! There is a thief loose on the planet called Satan! Jesus said that Satan (the THIEF) comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy (John 10:10)! Jesus came to destroy Satan’s work, not to help him do his work! (See 1 John 3:8). To listen to some people, it seems as though God and the devil have changed jobs over the last two thousand years! Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8)! God’s plan is to bless you and help you and not to harm you in any way (see Jeremiah 29:11). Activities that bring harm to you physically, mentally, spiritually, etc., are from Satan, not God.
Jesus told us that as long as we’re on the earth we would experience tribulation or adversity! But He told us to trust Him during hard times because He’s overcome the world (John 16:33; Psalm 46:1).
Although it is not the will of God for us to suffer with sickness, accidents, etc., there is a suffering that we must endure as believers, and it can actually be used as a tool to refine our lives! Notice that 1 Peter 2:21 says that Jesus left us an example of suffering that we should follow! Jesus wants us to follow His example of how to respond during times of duress and adversity.
Please understand that Jesus endured two distinct kinds of suffering, SUBSTITUTIONAL and SACRIFICIAL! He was made to be our sin and sickness on the cross and endured the wrath of God on our behalf in order to set us free! We do not follow Jesus’ example in His substitutional sufferings, for He alone could bear the penalty for our sin and sickness. But we do follow Jesus’ example in how He endured His circumstantial suffering! That’s the only kind of suffering that we must endure as Christians in a fallen world!
To listen to some people, it would seem as though God would never lead you into a hard place. But sometimes it is the will of God that you go through, not around hardship! Don’t forget that Jesus learned obedience through the things He suffered (Hebrews 5:7)! Jesus was actually led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1). It may be the will of God for you to endure some difficult moments and circumstances.
Notice how God dealt with Israel, “And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.”(Deuteronomy 8:2). It’s amazing how some difficult moments and how we respond to them can reveal a lot about our character or need of it!
God had to lead the children of Israel through the wilderness because their character was not developed sufficiently to face their enemies in war. TO GOD, ADVERSITY DEVELOPS SPIRITUAL STAMINA AND CHARACTER!
In Deuteronomy 32:11-12, the scriptures use the analogy of the Israelites as baby eagles; “As an eagle stirs up its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings. So the Lord alone led him, and there was no foreign god with him.”
A mother eagle makes a very soft bed of feathers for its newly hatched young in a nest on a crag high on a mountainside. Underneath the feathers are thorns and briars! When the babies are young and unable to fly, the mother feeds them and totally provides for all their needs. As the eaglets age and the time comes for them to learn to fly, the mother eagle seemingly goes berserk. She flies into the nest one day as normal as if to feed them, and instead, she begins to frantically pull all of the comfortable feathers out of the nest! As the feathers are removed, the thorns are exposed! The surprised and uncomfortable eaglets scamper to the very edge of the nest to get away from the thorns. Then mom eagle does the unthinkable! She knocks the eaglets off of the edge of the nest with one swift blow of her beak! The startled eaglets plummet rapidly to the ground to their ensuing death! Just before they hit the ground, the mother eagle swoops down and scoops them up on her back and back to the safety of the nest they go! This is repeated over and over until the baby eagles begin to get the idea that wings are on their side to be used! If mother eagle never removed the feathers from the nest and forced discomfort on the eaglets, they would never develop the ability to fly on their own. They would get so large that the mother would eventually be unable to feed them enough food, and they would die! So it’s because the mother eagle loves her young eaglets that she pushes them out of the nest to their seeming death.
And so it is in the life of the child of God. As we grow spiritually, the Lord expects more from us. At times, just like in Jesus’ life, He allows us to endure hardship and trying circumstances so that we will develop spiritually and be able to stand on our own two spiritual feet without having to depend on others! We’ll develop this theme more fully in our next issue. I’ll close with Phillip’s translation of James 1:2-4:
“When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brother, don’t resent them as intruders but welcome them as friends. Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed and you will find that you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence.”
Post a Comment: