Why Graceful Pain?

“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NIV.

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Have you ever petition the Lord for help but the problem remains? Maybe God is telling you something that may be difficult for you to hear. Maybe the unwanted situation is for your good. Maybe He has already answered your prayer. Maybe He is blessing you with graceful pain.

Graceful pain is what Paul learned to accept for his sake. The Bible doesn’t tell us specifically what the pain was, except that it negatively impacted his flesh. He asked God three different times to remove it. But instead of removing it, God informed Him that it was for Paul’s benefit. From this crutch, Paul would live in humility rather than give conceit room to grow.

God is no respecter of persons. If He blessed Paul with the means to enjoy life through graceful pain, who are we do be any different? Our pain may be physical, mental, emotional, financial, or social. No matter the area, maybe God is revealing Himself to us through these unwanted means. Maybe He is growing us more effectively as we lean on Him. Maybe as we realize our weakness, we also see His power and strength at work in us.

So, if we have petitioned our Lord at least three different times without the answer we desire, maybe we need to see the benefits of our situation from His perspective. Maybe the trials we are currently traveling through are His mercies in disguise. Maybe living without graceful pain would be more harmful for us at this season of life than not. Maybe this period of pain is God’s blessing for us to see how strong we actually are in Him.

Paul boasted of his weaknesses. Maybe we need to do the same.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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Beaten, Busted, Broken

” For the thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me.
I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, but trouble comes.” Job: 3:25-26 ESV

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Life has a tendency to throw us lemons. Those who are positive thinkers, state that we need to transform the lemons into lemonade. Yet what about us who are not equipped to make it happen? Not everyone has the talent or character to pick up one self and rise up to the occasion. Or maybe this time the challenge is larger than anything we have faced before and we don’t know where to turn to. Now what?

At times like this I am comforted by God’s reply to Job’s challenge. Job was the wealthiest person in his neck of the woods. He had a large family and was known throughout the community for his philanthropic work. He was the picture of success. Even God claimed that He was blameless.

Yet bad things do happen to good people. In Job’s case, he was the pawn in a wager between God and Satan. God gave Satan authority to do whatever he wanted but spare his life. So with his walking papers, Satan destroyed Job’s business, family, and health. By the time Satan was done, Job was beaten, busted, and broken.

He was physically disabled with chronic pain. He was financially ruined. His wife deserted him. His immediate family taken away. He was left alone beaten, busted, and broken. Yet he never disowned His God. In fact, besides his three companions who tried to comfort him, but ended up throwing spiritual daggers into his side, he spent the time seeking answers from God. As the events unfolded, God finally granted him his day in court where Job eventually repented from his thinking and acknowledged God’s greatness and faithfulness.

God restored Job with more at the end of his crisis than before his broken, busted, and beaten state. What is it that I find encouraging about the entire ordeal?

Simply that God was always with him. Even when God wages a bet with others, he does so knowing that the final outcome is going to be better than if He did nothing. For most of us, we shall experience a Good Friday event in our life. Hopefully, if we hang in there long enough, we shall also experience a Resurrection Sunday.

God is good. He wants what is best for all of us. The immediate future may look bleak. But God in all his glory will carry us through the situation and bless us with character, virtue, and reward.

Yes we may be beaten, busted, and broken at this time. But it only allows us to place our trust in the hand of who will rise us up and restore us to a place for his glory. With Job, his story has become an inspiration for millions throughout history. For us, our story may likewise become a living testament for others on the grace of God.

Again, being beaten, busted, and broken isn’t bad unless we neglect to lean on Him. Then pity on us. I choose to trust Him who raises the dead, walks on water, and turns water into wine.

There is a purpose and meaning behind the BBB of life. As we learn from it, grow from it, and glorify God through it, in hindsight, we may have a better understanding of why we went through it. But for today, let’s just be pleasantly surprised on how He will intervene and save us from ourselves, for the sake of others, and for His glory.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

The Suffering God

“Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.” Hebrews 5:8

Suffering in many cultures is typically looked upon as if the person is doing something wrong. In some faith-communities, suffering is typically viewed as the result of personal sin. Yet when one views the spectrum of the entire Bible one learns that is not true.

First there is Jesus Christ. As the writer of Hebrews states: Jesus learned obedience through what he suffered. Jesus of course never sinned. In the beginning of his ministry, he was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit where he suffered physical exhaustion from lack of food and water. His suffering was not the result of sin, but the deliberate choice of obeying His Father. In his last days, he suffered death on the cross. Again, not because of his sin, but his deliberate choice to fulfill the Godhead’s plan of redemption.
Jesus stated in John 9:1-3 that a certain blind man was born sightless not because of sin, but for God’s glory. The Book of Job 1:1,8 states that God considered Job blameless (sinless) yet his entire world came crumbling down. He suffered physically, emotionally, and financially. Yes, many other religions and faiths have difficulty in believing God knows anything personal about suffering. Yet the Incarnation demonstrates what Jesus learned through suffering.

There are those in the Protestant ranks who emphasize the cross without an image of Christ because of the resurrection. However, those in the Catholic faith maintain a statue of a suffering Jesus on the cross as a reminder of the crucifixion. Both images are correct. Yet one-side likes to focus on one side of the spectrum and ignore the other. The fact is joy and suffering is a part of life.
To enjoy life in Christ is to admit the reality of suffering. Paul wrote in Colossians 1:24 that his suffering is for the benefit of others in the Body of Christ. Yet even in suffering, Paul rejoiced in the Spirit that lived in him and help him through the pain. In I Corinthians 12:26, Paul writes that when one suffers in the Body of Christ, the entire Body of Christ suffers. Also, in Acts 9 Jesus is speaking with Paul (then Saul) asking why is Paul persecuting Him? Paul was persecuting believers, the Body of Christ, not the physical Jesus; yet Jesus’ reply was he was taking the pain personally when the Body of Christ is being attacked. Isn’t it the same when one member suffers within the Body of Christ? When one suffers, isn’t Jesus already there in Spirit? Doesn’t he recall what it was like walking in his physical temple? And as our mediator with the Father, doesn’t he groan with the Spirit working out what is best for all parties involved?

Yes, God created life to be enjoyed. Yet when one realizes that joy comes from the Spirit, not the physical surroundings that we live in, the more comforting it becomes to continue the journey knowing Christ is with us, empathizing in our suffering, and providing the means to move through the pain where God will be glorified and we will be acknowledged by our Creator for the faith we exercised in those moments of truth.

OUR PRAYER

PRAY 9

Our Great Empathic God: thank you for experiencing humanity in person. Thank you for knowing what pain and suffering is all about. Thank you for mediating between heaven and earth. Thank you for always walking with us through our suffering. Help us to have the courage and conviction to always trust in you. You have made everything possible through your life, death, and resurrection. You are victorious and triumphant in your ways. You learned obedience through your suffering. Help us to likewise learn to trust you and follow your lead no matter how ridiculous the decision is in the eyes of others. Help us to walk through our suffering and learn from it. Help us walk through our pain and glorify you through it. Help us baffle those around us by allowing your Spirit to reside in us full of joy and the fruit of your divine nature. No matter the circumstances, no matter the challenges, and no matter the results, help us enjoy everyday life in you for your glory. Forever and ever. Amen.

 

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, Encourager
Author of Great Business Emulates A Good God
Portal: EnjoyLifeInChrist.com

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