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Appreciating Troubles

August 14, 2014

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Appreciating Troubles

It is good  for me  that I was afflicted,  that I may learn  Your statutes.       Psalm 119:71

That sounds strange  and rather annoying.     One can think  of all sorts  of afflictions  that just don’t seem good,  like losing a job  —  having someone gossip  about you  and spread slanderous stories  about you  —  being robbed  and cheated  —  being in big time financial trouble  —  getting an incurable sickness  —  or losing a loved one.     The list could go on endlessly.     We can all remember times  of affliction  that make us reflect  with profound sadness  the rest  of our lives.

But,  can we ever say  those times  of deep,  excruciating pain were good  —  really good?

The Psalmist  is sure  of it  because he noted something truly important  in his life.     It’s something we,  too,  need to realize.     He tells us  in verse 67,

Before I was afflicted  I went astray,  but now I keep  Your word.

That’s so true  —  at least it is  for God’s children.     We sadly realize  that afflictions  often harden unbelievers  in their unbelief.

But,  we all do  go astray  from God’s word  when we become centered  on our own desires  —  when we get so involved  in daily activities  that we push God out  of our lives.     It’s  in these seemingly  “high”  times  that we get  to feeling we’re  in control  of our lives,  and our own strengths  and talents  have brought us success  because  we’ve worked so hard  and deserve our  “rewards”.

It’s then  that our heavenly Father needs  to put things  into perspective  for us.     We aren’t really  in control  —  God is.     Health,  wealth,  talents,  strengths  and ability  to succeed  aren’t ours  —  they’re gifts  from God.

Because we are so human  and so prone  to fall,  the faithfulness  of our LORD  needs to step in,  set us on the right track,  and cause us  to grow  in truth,  faith,  hope  and love.     We need constant reminders  of God’s loving control.     It’s when we don’t get  these constant reminders  that we have cause  for concern.

When Paul suffered  so much  during his ministry,  it was to mold him  into a stronger servant  of God.     So Paul says  in 2 Timothy 1:12,

For this reason  I also suffer these things,  but I am not ashamed;  for I know  whom I have believed  and I am convinced  that He is able  to guard  what I have entrusted  to Him  until  that day.

We don’t have  to be ashamed  of our sufferings either.     God will help us  work through them  to His glory.     And what a glory  that will be!     Each one  of us  will be a unique glory  to God.

Whether  we are weak  and have fallen  or whether we are strong  in faith  and our heavenly Father seeks  to further strengthen us,  we need  to trust God’s wisdom,  His knowledge  of the whole situation,  and the immense depth  of His love.     God’s love caused Him  to redeem us  in the blood  of Jesus.     There is no greater love  for us.     That love  will even lead us  “through the valley  of the shadow  of death.”     There is nothing  we need  to be afraid of.

Our pain  may be excruciating,  but God’s love  and strength  are much greater.

In all this,  we  hold fast  to Hebrews 11:6,

And without faith  it is impossible  to please Him,  for he who comes  to God  must believe  that He is,  and that He is a rewarder  of those  who seek Him.

That’s talking  about faith  in God’s love.     If we claim  to “believe”  that God exists  and that He sent  our Savior Jesus,  we must also “believe”  in His loving rewards  —  we’re not talking  about money  and “stuff”.

Our heavenly rewards  are beyond  human descriptions,  but,  here on earth  we can rejoice  that part  of our reward is,  “that I may learn Your statutes”   (Psalm 119:71)  —  and  —  “but now I keep  Your word”   (Psalm 119:67).     What a blessing  from afflictions.     Who wants to ask  for more?     Just say,  “Hallelujah!”

Love,
Margaret

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A Christian devotional  to glorify  the LORD of lords  and GOD of gods.

A 2.67 year old says  I Pledge Allegiance

Pray for our country.

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Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus

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Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus by the Yupiq Eskimo village of Quinhagak, Alaska

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The LORD  made this day, let us rejoice  and be glad  in Him.

Psalm 118:24

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The word of the LORD is tried;

He is a shield  to all  who take refuge  in Him.

Psalm 18:30

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Sing for joy  in the LORD,  O you righteous ones;

Praise is becoming  to the upright.

Psalm 33:1

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How blessed are those  who dwell  in Thy house!

They are ever praising Thee.

Psalm 84:4

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Just as a father  has compassion  on his children,

So the LORD  has compassion  on those who fear Him.

Psalm 103:13

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O give thanks  to the LORD,  for He is good;

For His lovingkindness  is everlasting.

Psalm 107:1

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Glory in His holy name;

Let the heart  of those who seek the LORD  be glad.

Psalm 105:3

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Not that I have already obtained it,  or have already  become perfect, but I press on  in order that  I may  lay hold  of that for which also  I was laid hold of  by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12

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