When I don’t understand…

(John 9:1-3, NLT)   As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”

“It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.

Too often, we want to blame sickness, trials, and hardships on sin.  We see these things as curses…as punishment for sin.  Maybe sometimes our hardships are the results of poor decisions.  We absolutely do bring about negative consequences in our lives because of sin, but we also need to learn to trust God in those times when we sincerely wonder why “bad” things happen to “good” people.

We’ve all wondered it.  We’ve all seen children suffering from different types of cancer.  Many of us have witnessed a loved one become stricken with dementia, and have had to watch the disease slowly dissipate that person whom we love so much.  It is hard to understand.  Yet I can’t help but go back to this account of Jesus and the blind man, because I think it perfectly explains why we sometimes have to endure things that seem unfair.  This man was born blind.  He hadn’t yet had the opportunity to make choices between right and wrong, so it wasn’t some sort of consequence.  He came into life stricken with disability, and I’m sure he often wondered why himself.  Yet in his wondering, God had a purpose that was mapped out from the very start.

You see, everything that happens to us has the possibility to become a victory in our lives and therefore an addition to the great testimony of God’s power and providence in all things.

And what happened to this man who had been without sight all of his life?

10 They asked, “Who healed you? What happened?”

11 He told them, “The man they call Jesus made mud and spread it over my eyes and told me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash yourself.’ So I went and washed, and now I can see!”  (John 9: 10-11, NLT)

Healing and miracles come with responsibility, because we then have to transfer that joy and victory to the rest of the world.  That’s the reason for great victories!  Sometimes we are afflicted because we are destined to share something miraculous with others…so that they will believe…so that God gets glorified not only with our words but with our lives!

So when you question “why” remember the blind man.  Remember that our pain has a purpose.  We may not know what it is right now, but we can trust that God is always working for the good of those who love and honor Him.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank You for every aspect of my life…both the good and the bad.  I love You, and I praise You in all circumstances.  When I don’t understand, I still choose to love and honor You.  I trust You.  Amen.

“Even When It Hurts”

(Job 5: 17-18)  17 “But consider the joy of those corrected by God!  Do not despise the discipline of the Almighty when you sin.  18 For though he wounds, he also bandages.  He strikes, but his hands also heal.


Years ago, one of my cousins was in a terrible mountain-biking accident when he was a young(er) man.  He was awfully disfigured and underwent numerous surgeries in order to regain a normal appearance…meaning — an appearance that wouldn’t cause people to wince and/or ask questions everywhere he went.  The doctors called it reconstructive surgery.  Throughout the process of these procedures, which took years to complete, my cousin had to endure a lot of pain both physically and emotionally.  The surgeries were painful.  He had bone removed from his skull and placed into his gums, so that he could have dental implants to replace the teeth he’d lost.  He had skin grafts and pins, and everything else that goes into reconstructing a crushed face.  I am sure there came a point for him when just the thought of going to the doctor was enough to send him into hiding, but he had to continue on through the pain to get the desired results…reconstruction.  He had to trust the surgeon completely.  He had to remember that the surgeon’s intention was not to harm him, but to make him whole again.  Sure, the surgeon’s hands wounded him, so to speak, but over those cuts and sutures were gently and carefully placed bandages. 

Our lives sometimes bring us into places where we are wounded beyond recognition.  Our choices lead us into situations, though at times out of our control, that disfigure our spirits…and we have to be lifted into safety and undergo some tough reconstruction.  We have to trust God in that pain.  We have to understand that His hands sometimes have to wound us in order to correct us.  Like the locked jaw that has to be broken, then wired shut for a time, before it is mended and corrected.  It’s not fun, and it hurts, but we have to trust that the process is worth the outcome. 

10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.  (Hebrews 12: 10-11)

When I was little, I was the kid that needed some (okay…a LOT of) spankings and discipline.  I constantly had to be reminded (because of my impulsiveness, impatience and quick temper) that I was making poor choices.  My parents had to, at times, strike me (usually on the butt), but were always quick with a loving hug and healing words of grace and encouragement.  Well, I’m 37 years old and I still need those reminders…only now they almost exclusively come from my Heavenly Father.  He sometimes has to lovingly reach down and (figuratively so) slap some sense into me!  And I desperately need those reminders.  Maybe it comes in the form of embarrassment, or internal conviction…sometimes it’s having hurt feelings…or causing them.  However it may come to pass, I recognize my Father’s discipline for what it is, and though I don’t enjoy it (not by any means), I am able to reflect back on it and be thankful that He loves me enough to help me learn from and correct my mistakes. 


Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I thank you for your eye of concern that is always fixed on little ole me.  Help me to love the process, even when it hurts.  Amen.

The Power of God’s Word

[Pro 4:20-22 ESV] 20 My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. 21 Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. 22 For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.


How important is Scripture to you? Does it hold a place of value in the day to day movement of your life? Would your life be drastically different if you never read another verse, or never heard another teaching? If you suddenly decided the Bible is irrelevent, what would you base your belief system on?

I’m asking these questions because the foundation of our faith is based upon what God says about Himself in the Bible. Without it, we have no sense of direction. With it, we have a keen sense of awareness. The Psalmist confirms, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” [Psa 119:105 ESV]

The writer of Proverbs gives wise counsel concerning our interaction with Scripture. He offers the following four suggestions:

  • Give it your full attention. Wrap your mind around its concepts. Explore the details. (Matthew 5:18 ESV) 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
  • Hear it audibly. The sense of hearing identifies details more closely. Inflections of the voice can help determine the intensity with which the word is delivered. Faith is caught by the hearing of God’s word. (Romans 10:17 ESV) 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
  • Read it for yourself. One of the many ways that we learn is by visualization. The writer  warns that we should not let the written word of God escape our view. Find ways to view it. Place sticky notes around your house. Purchase decorative items for your house or office that remind us of Scripture. Put Scripture backgrounds on your phone or computer screen as a constant reminder.
  • Memorize it. Let it become second nature by adding it to your routines. Don’t say you cannot do it. Can you remember what channel your favorite TV show is on? Do you remember where you placed your car keys last night? How about your favorite casserole dish? Do you know where it is stored when not in use? Of course you do! And if you can remember these details, you certainly can train your mind to receive and compartmentalize various passages of Scripture.

You may be wondering why this is so important. The writer of Proverbs tells us why, “For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.” That seems pretty important to me!


PRAYER: Thank You Lord for Your word! It inspires me daily while providing direction through the necessary movements of life. I am able to discern Your will from it. It protects me! It brings hope to hopeless situations. I delight in Your words… Amen.

 

%d bloggers like this: