Nathele Graham – [email protected]
It can be easy to get down in the dumps when things go wrong in life. Everybody goes through hard times that cause us to worry and sometimes cause we become very angry at our situation. There seems to be a feeling among many Christians that by accepting Christ for salvation we should somehow be protected from the afflictions of this life.
That would be nice but it’s just not the way things work. When by faith a person accepts Christ for salvation it doesn’t mean that life on earth becomes perfect and trouble free, but it does mean that our faith protects our eternity. When a Christian dies, he or she will be with God forever and ever. “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (for we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:6-8.
Being “home in the body” means that our flesh is subject to disease and temptations. Knowing that our true Home is in Heaven with the Lord is a blessing that only Christians can be assured of and that faith should give us strength to face any trial we face.
Even though our eternity is sealed we still live in a fallen world. Because of that fact our physical body is subject to the second law of thermodynamics, which is called entropy. That means everything breaks down. Our cars rust, our roofs need replacing, and our bodies eventually wear out. Entropy is a direct result of sin which originated in the Garden of Eden. In that garden there was no death or suffering. There was one protection against death and that was obedience to God. God told Adam not to eat the forbidden fruit or else he would die. “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Genesis 2:17.
Of course, Adam ate the fruit. He didn’t fall over dead but he could no longer live in the perfect place God had made for him and entropy became a part of life. God always knows best, but Adam chose to disobey God and all of creation fell because of that one act of disobedience.
The afflictions in life cause us pain, but if the blame is to be put anywhere it must be put on that old serpent the Devil. Satan and his lies beguiled Eve to eat the fruit that God specifically said not to eat and Adam made his own choice. Death entered the world along with all the pain and suffering we experience. Sin brings death…eternal death…but there are two ways to avoid eternal death.
We can live absolutely perfect and righteous according to God’s standards (not human standards) or we can look to Jesus. His shed blood takes our sin away and His righteousness allows us to live eternally in Heaven. Humans can never live perfect lives, so the only way to live eternally with God is by accepting Jesus Christ for you salvation. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9. Don’t wait for things to go wrong; place your faith in Him today.
When illness strikes or the death of a loved one breaks our heart, many Christians ask why. Nowhere in God’s word are we promised a shield to protect us from tragedy and loss. The way we handle the trials that come our way depends upon our relationship with Christ. Do we trust Him? When He stepped into His creation He chose to become human. That means He also felt pain and knew the sorrow that comes when someone close to us dies. How Did Jesus react when his friend Lazarus died? “Jesus wept.” John 11:35.
It’s okay to shed tears, but don’t blame God. It isn’t always easy to see things in a positive light, but in good times and bad it’s important to focus our thoughts on heavenly things. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think of these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9.
These thoughts won’t cure our problems but they give hope and a cushion for pain. Our attitude in times of testing will make a difference in our peace of mind and spirit. If we focus on the disease or the tragedy we will become bitter and blame God. We have a choice in how we face adversity. Whether it’s your own disease or you’re watching your child suffer, keep your heart and mind tuned to the things of God. Pray for healing, but trust God to be with you through all of life’s problems.
A question that comes up quite often is “If God is so loving, why does He allow pain and suffering?” That’s a valid question and the answer lies in the fact that God IS love. He loves us so much that He didn’t make us to be robots but He gave us the blessing of free choice. Adam and Eve were placed in a perfect place…the Garden of Eden. If God hadn’t given them a choice as to whether or not they wanted to love and obey Him, then that wouldn’t have been real love. Adam and Eve chose sin, but that didn’t destroy God’s love. Today we still have a choice and the temptations that come our way can cause suffering and even death. Be careful what you choose in life. Following satanic lies will always bring sorrow. “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” 1 Peter 2:11.
Fleshly lusts are opposed to God and bring disease into our lives. Are you angry with God because you have liver problems even though you chose to allow alcohol to control your life? Have you contracted AIDS or some other sexually transmitted disease and blame God because you chose not to follow His one man/one woman marriage plan? It isn’t His fault but He does love you and is willing to forgive your sin but you still have to bear the consequences of your actions.
The consequences of sin are a burden, but are a result of our own choices. Sometimes our troubles come by way of an accident instead of a choice we’ve made, but God is still there to see you through. Never give up in times of trouble because miracles take place every day. The power of the Holy Spirit is unmatched by any other power in the universe. He is powerful, but remember that Jesus referred to Him as “The Comforter”. “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart I will send him unto you.” John 16:7. God in His infinite wisdom may choose to allow healing when illness strikes, or He may choose to allow the one suffering to go Home. No matter what He chooses, the Comforter will bring peace.
The way a Christian handles the problems in life can be a huge witness to the lost people around us. Pray and ask God for healing, but remember that physical healing isn’t always the best answer. Trust God and thank Him for everything. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7.
It isn’t easy to watch a loved one suffer through a disease, but as Christians we have the assurance that God hears all prayer and His peace will be there no matter what His answer is. When my husband died a huge part of me died too. It’s been almost five years since he died and I still occasionally have a good cry because I miss him so much. It’s during those times that I also thank God for every moment Ron and I had together. I know that Ron is safe in Heaven because he loved and served Jesus. Everyone faces trials, and everyone needs help through those times. Our attitude in adversity may help to win a lost soul to Christ or it may also strengthen a fellow Christian’s walk. The Holy Spirit is always there to comfort and guide.
There can be no greater peace in times of trouble than to know where you and your loved ones will spend eternity. The only way to spend eternity in heaven with God is to place your faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When (not if) I die my children can be certain that I am with Jesus. My husband is there already, as are many people I have loved. Like me, they had faith in the forgiveness of sin that comes only through Jesus’ shed blood. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6.
Every person will one day face death but God won’t force anyone to spend eternity with Him. If you don’t want to obey Him now then you probably won’t be willing to obey Him for eternity. God has given us the choice of accepting Him or rejecting Him. That choice has to be made during this life. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
When things go wrong you need to lean on someone. Be sure that Someone is Jesus Christ. Get to know Him when things go right so that you will trust Him when things go wrong.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
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