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God Makes Life Make Sense

September 11th, 2013

“Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Genesis 18:25 NIV.

The hurt you feel is not apart from the hope you have and healing you need.

My thoughts and comments today are that “God makes life make sense”

Life isn’t fair; serious disappointment waits for those who expect it to be. Today, September 11, is a stained date on America’s calendar when our stunned nation puzzled how crazed jihadists would rob hearts and homes of more than three thousand lives, guilty of nothing more than going to work that morning. Everything in our national grief cried, “Unfair!”

Unfair; everyone feels that way sometimes. Jesus told a parable about workers in a vineyard who agreed to a proper day’s wage for a full day’s work. Read Matthew 20:1-16 NLT. As the day progressed, other workers were needed and hired. But at the end of the day, the owner of the vineyard said, “I wanted to pay this last man the same as you . . should you be angry because I am kind?” Matthew 20:14 NKJV. “Unfair,” seemed a legitimate complaint! Read Vs. 8-12. See Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT. With which worker did you first identify – the ones who got what they agreed to receive or the ones who received a grace they could not earn? We have more likely and more frequently been the latter. See 2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV.

Probably one of the important questions of everyday life is: do you trust God to be fair? When he interceded for God to spare Sodom, Abraham affirmed his trust by a rhetorical question whose answer assumed to be obvious, “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Genesis 18:25 NIV. Of course, God will! He is righteous and cannot do less. And He will always do right by you.

“Unfair!” That’s a familiar exclamation or emotion anyone might say or feel.From a child’s earliest years there seems to be an innate sense of fairness, not so much in evidence when you are the one getting the best deal but certainly when someone else is and you are not. People never seem to outgrow the need to be first, have the most, the best, or the biggest; do we? When you don’t and someone else does – that you think deserves it less than you – your feelings scream, “Unfair!”

In their pain and tears, I have heard many good people say, “Life isn’t fair.” And they had every right to feel that way. The hurt you feel is not apart from the hope you have and the healing you need. A good person struggles with hardships, while a lesser person lives carefree. A hard working person seems not to get a break; another stumbles into unbelievably good fortuneLife isn’t fair. But God is just – every time, all the time. See 2 Timothy 4:7-8 NIV.

The Psalmist anguished over the incongruity that the wicked prospered yet the righteous suffered. The inequities bewildered him; “But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold . . when I saw the prosperity of the wicked . . Till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.” Read Psalm 73:1-28 NIV. There is a sanctuary for you where God makes life make sense. One day, the scales of justice are balanced, the wrongs made right, the innocent vindicated, the guilty punished.

My prayer for you today is that you trust in the goodness of a righteous God.

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Picking Up The Pieces

January 10th, 2012

“Then David got up from the ground.” 2 Samuel 12:20 NIV

“Pick up the shattered pieces of life and offer those pieces to God in worship and trust.”

My thoughts today are about “picking up the pieces.”

As a boy, I remember a sporting incident when the “wind was knocked out” of me. It felt like I would never get another breath. My body went into full panic mode! I wanted to breathe, urgently! But it felt like the next breath would not come. As well as physical trauma, there are times and experiences in life that can leave you fighting for your next breath. The word “disheartened” describes the emotions of such moments, like the word ”distraught” describes times of mental anguish. You can feel bewildered mentally and overwhelmed emotionally.

Life comes at you hard sometimes – moments when something so unexpectedly sudden or severe incapacitates you without warning, momentarily or longer. Trauma rattles your confidence. Questions bombard your mind. What’s happening? Why is this happening? Why now? Why to me? Your mind races, trying to make sense of things that don’t immediately make sense. You struggle to regather yourself, to regain equilibrium, and to recover a grasp on events.

Living right does not provide a holy exemption from trouble, though you can wish it did. You think you’ve had problems? Listen to Paul’s journey, “As servants of God . . in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger . . through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; (we are) genuine, yet regarded as imposters; dying and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.” 2 Corinthians 6:4-10 NIV. Notice the contrasts.

Paul certainly was not delighted with his circumstances, but neither was he devastated. He placed his heart in the hands of the One who was “anointed . . to heal the broken hearted . . to comfort all who mourn . . to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” Isaiah 61:1-3 NKJV.

King David knew anguish, the worst kind of physical and emotional pain. A baby was gravely ill. He fasted; he wept; he pleaded with God for healing, but the child died. A part of his world was painfully crumbling in pieces at his feet. Would your reaction be anger at God? Blame? Self-pity? Self recrimination? Inconsolable grief? “Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed . . and changed his clothes, he went into the House of the Lord and worshipped.” 2 Samuel 12:20 NIV. David simply picked up the shattered pieces of his life and offered those pieces to God in worship. Worship, acceptance, and trust are always appropriate responses.

Here’s the Godly conclusion. “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down but not abandoned. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NLT. Knocked down by circumstances? Get up again and keep going! God will help you get up and get going again when you are ready. Read Psalm 34:17-19 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you let God make sense of all that happens.

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Distress

November 8th, 2011

“O God . . you have relieved me in my distress.” Psalm 4:1 NKJV

“In distress, you have to do something that holds some hope of helping; try God.”

My thoughts today are about “distress.”

How would you describe distress? Distress is a disappointment, concern, or difficulty taken to its emotional extreme. It can describe an emotional state of uncertainty and pressure. Distress is a big deal. Distress is the emotional anguish you experience from unwelcome necessities that impose upon you, leaving you uncomfortable and more than a little troubled.

Paul knew the feeling. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels . . we are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 KJV. Other translations of “distressed” in this verse substitute the words, “crushed, or hard pressed.” Stress is inevitable, but distress, one of its after effects, is not – “troubled, yet not distressed!”

Distress is like trash; it is quite normal to generate it, but if not disposed of properly, it will overwhelm your life. Distress is unhealthy when prolonged – either mentally, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, or even physically unhealthy. There will be disconcerting times and difficult situations – even unfortunate encounters with people – that cause you distress. Those feelings happen when you cannot find relief or resolve the circumstances that are disquieting.

One of the Greek words for distress is defined as: “to be pressed, as in a narrow place.” Have you heard the expression about being “between a rock and hard place?” Sometimes life will place you there, at a time when you feel you have limited options and none of those seem very good. Could that describe where you are walking right now?

You cannot simply ignore such moments, nor successfully pretend them away. You have to do something, and that something has to hold some hope of helping. There is an inclination to a mental and emotional paralysis when distressed. I found this practical quote interesting, “When you commit to action, to actually doing something rather than feeling trapped by events, the stress in your life becomes manageable.” Greg Anderson. The Bible gives you an action that brings hope, even when you know nothing else to do: “Don’t be anxious about anything, pray about everything! Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done.” See Philippians 4:6-9. That works; doing nothing doesn’t!

Stop struggling; stop stressing. “When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get His help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought.” James 1:2-5 J.B.Phillips New Testament/The Message.

Take your distress to God; here’s what you too will find, “O God . . you have relieved me in my distress.” Psalm 4:1 NKJV. Bring it all to Jesus!

My prayer for you today is that you let your distress push you to God.

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