God has been challenging me to keep my perspective open; to keep my mind, ears and eyes open to the things that He has for me. Having all of my senses open and ready for what God has to say about things is vital for my healing, restoration and growth. Allowing God to control our perspective helps all of us, really. It can help us from getting into an ‘I’ve arrived’ rut or from thinking we know it all. Thinking we have all the answers or that we have it all figured out can be a dangerous place, and, sadly, too many of us reside there. I admit – I’ve visited from time to time; lots of us do, but some never leave. This may be why we rarely hear ‘I’m not sure about this,’ or ‘I may have been wrong about that,’ or ‘I’ve gained new perspective on this issue, so let me go back on what I said before.’ Instead, we sometimes let our human revelation continue to be our guide.
We can all admit that there are certain things we think we have figured out; that we could have found the key to unlocking the unsolved mystery. And, some of us very well may have. But, sometimes our own truths become the principles by which we live our lives. Give and we will receive, Love is all we need, our faith makes us whole, etc. All truths out of the Word of God, right? So, what happens when they don’t work the way we think they should? Like, when we give and never receive enough? Or, we love with our whole hearts, only to be mistreated or neglected by the person we are loving. What about when our faith doesn’t produce the results we were hoping for? Do we then try to make sense of it? Do we try and bring God down to a level we can understand? Or, worse, do we walk away from God because it didn’t go our way?
I’ve heard some preachers say that if you’re doing all the things you should be doing, but you’re not getting the results – something is off in your heart – that you don’t have the right kind of faith. I’ve heard others say it must be the enemy; after all, the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Some say, we live in a fallen world, one that God doesn’t have control over, and bad things just happen. Those can all make sense to the natural senses, and they can sometimes make us feel better. Getting an answer to our question always feels better. In the end, when we suffer, our mind boils it down to these possibilities: either we failed and missed it, the enemy invaded our lives and he’s after us, or accidents just occur and sometimes bad things happen to good people.
But, what if we are wrong? What if all of those are just human ideas we have come up with to feel better. What if the ‘why’ hasn’t even been revealed to us yet, and we are looking to our natural senses to provide our perspective? What if we don’t know all that we think we know about suffering? Would we be willing to acknowledge this? That maybe, the answers to certain questions can only be understood by our spirit man; that we have limited ourselves to our own physical means and capabilities?
When bad things happen to those of us who know our covenant with this, wonderful and amazing, God, it hurts. I am hurt. The pain that comes with the loss of a child reaches beyond anything I could express in the natural, so I can’t use my physical means to communicate it. God is the only one who can know my suffering because it reaches deep down into the unidentified places within me – the ones that I never knew existed. The pain is all over me – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. But, by far, the most real and excruciating pain has taken place in the spiritual. Partly because I feel forsaken, partly because I don’t understand, but mostly because I felt that my covenant God didn’t honor my plea to keep my son alive. The good and loving God I’ve always known has allowed me to experience a trauma that is indescribable. And, the pain will never go away until I meet Him face to face. I never knew this kind of hurt before Christiano left us, and many still don’t. I had experienced pain and suffering before coming to know God, but never like this, and never after coming to know Him. This is the part of life that everyone wants to avoid and disregard because it reveals a side of God that many of us are uncomfortable with. It’s easier for us to pretend that suffering doesn’t exist and that God is not Sovereign. For some reason, when we come to Christ, we create a false security for ourselves. We confuse the eternal security with a worldly security. We believe that when we enter a covenant with God, we are exempt to anything bad ever happening to us in this life. But, this is not our home nor our final destination.
Do we think we are above the great men and woman in The Holy Bible; the ones who lost children, and spouses and siblings? What about the men and woman who have lost their very lives for the sake of the gospel? What about Jesus Christ himself? The One who was beaten and battered beyond comprehension for YOU and for ME? Not so our life on earth would be perfect, but to give us hope in an imperfect world – hope for eternal life with our Father. There was much purpose in Christ’s suffering, so how can we believe there isn’t purpose in ours? We can’t.
There is a song that some of you might know. It is called ‘He Is With Us,’ by Love & The Outcome, and some of the lyrics go like this…
‘We believe there is purpose, there is meaning in everything
We surrender to His leading
He wants nothing more than to have us close
We can trust our God
He knows what He’s doing
Though it might hurt now
We won’t be ruined
It might seem there’s an ocean in between
But He’s holding on to you and me
And He’s never gonna leave, no…’
Paul talked about suffering and told us we would have tribulations, and so did Jesus Christ. He said,
‘These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.’
great affliction, trial, or distress; suffering or,
an experience that tests one’s endurance, patience, or faith.
We all experience tribulation at some time in our lives – through loss, through sickness, through betrayal, and through the things that world throws at us. And, sometimes we are tempted to say, ‘My God, where are You in this? Why have you left me?’
We wonder why God doesn’t intervene and stop the horrible things that happen in our lives. We wonder why He doesn’t step in and cause us to overcome. This is when we have to remind ourselves that He has, and He does; that He overcame, and He overcomes. He has provided a way out, and He did it through His son. In the end, those of us who have decided to follow Him win, too, and we will be with our God forever.
I’m seeing this world more temporary and fleeting than I ever have. My perspective of God and His Word has shifted realms. This natural world has nothing for me. I have more questions than I’ve ever had, but somehow my perspective has never been so clear. God is with me, and I am with Him. I have purposed myself to know Him more each and every day. He causes me to triumph through this life, and even though I’m hurting, He is near. Somehow, someway, He is causing all things to work together for my good, and I will spend eternity with Him.