Tag Archives: suffering

Found

Joy and sadness, my constant elixir.
Her presence never escapes my notice.
When she smiles,  I am as a child.
When we part, my heart sighs.

I guess I’ll see you next lifetime,
Erykah Badu sang.
Yet that conviction wanes,
every time I call her name.

True love never just waits;
True love also suffers.
An augury of a painful life.
Spiritual agony between my love and me.

My Joy, Her Smile;
My Strength, Her Stride;
My Peace, Her Success;
My Love, Her Wings. 

It took me a lifetime.
But then, I found Her.
She was everything I dreamed.
But alas, I am coupled with another.

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It Came to Pass!

Discouragement and intimidation hinder us from being our best selves.  To be discouraged is to “be deprived of courage or confidence; disheartened; to hinder by disfavoring.”  In other words when you are discouraged you cease to live courageously.  Secondly, intimidation.  Intimidation means “to make timid or fearful; to compel or deter by or as if by threats.”  For example, Christians who are intimidated will not pursue the call of God in their lives for fear they will not reach their goals; for fear they are cursed or living outside the grace of God.  They often fear that God is against them rather than for them.  And these twin enemies, discouragement and intimidation, paralyze the believer from standing their ground as it pertains to their faith in Jesus Christ.  Lord, have mercy!

This is serious because discouragement isolates you and intimidation keeps you from boldly proclaiming the gospel of Jesus
Christ.  To know how to navigate this life is something every Christian needs to know.  1 Peter 3:13-22 gives us a path through suffering.  He cites three things we should do to battle against discouragement and intimidation as we do the work of Christ in the world.  Those three things are (1) expect to suffer; (2) don’t be intimidated; and (3) expect the victory.

During a Sunday class the question was asked, “In your time of discouragement, what is your favorite Scripture?”

A young man said, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” Psalm 23:1. A middle age woman said, “God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” Psalm 46:1. Another woman said, “In this world you shall have tribulations, but be of good cheer, I have overcome this world” John 16:33-35.

Then old Mr. John who was 80 years old, with head of white hair and dark black skin, stood up and said with as much strength as he could muster, “It says, ‘And it came to pass…’ 85 times in the Bible.” The class started to laugh a little, thinking that old Mr. John’s lack of memory was getting the best of him.

When the snickering stopped, he said, “At 30, I lost my job with six hungry mouths and a wife to feed. I didn’t know how I would make it. At 40, my eldest son was killed overseas in the war. It knocked me down. At 50, my house burned to the ground. Nothing was saved out of the house. At 60, my wife of 40 years got cancer. It slowly ate away at her. We cried together many a night on our knees in prayer. At 65, she died. I still miss her today.

“The agony I went through in each of these situations was unbelievable. I wondered where was God. But each time I looked in the bible I saw one of those 85 verses that said, ‘And it came to pass’ I felt that God was telling me, my pain and my circumstances were also going to pass and that God would get me through it.”

When you expect suffering; when you refuse to be intimidated; and when you expect the victory, whatever you face in life, remember “It CAME to PASS!”

A Praise With No Scientific Proof

Atheist, Agnostics, and Non Theists contest the existence of God. Their main points of argument are the lack of scientific proof and the horrific conditions of violence and suffering in the world. How can a loving God remain silent, inactive among so much tragedy?

Their arguments are compelling, rational, and valid. They have challenged theologians for centuries. Some became theologians. Paul Tillich was such an agnostic who found his faith by redefining God. His treatise “The Courage to Be!” is used in major seminaries today.

Notwithstanding, suffering, violence, injustice, and evil continue to be problematic. These life conditions have proven to withstand theological dogma, confessions of faith, and even powerful preaching.

The Bible says a lot about why bad things happen without giving definitive answers for every situation. The key for people of faith has been relationship.  Consistent, committed personal experiences with God over time produce powerful, transforming convictions.

Habbakuk, a prophet wrestling with these issues concluded he would base his life on a simple proposition. He writes “Even if the fig tree does not bloom and the vines have no grapes, even if the olive tree fails to produce and the fields yield no food, even if the sheep pen is empty and the stalls have no cattle— even then, I will be happy with the Lord. I will truly find joy in God, who saves me. The Lord Almighty is my strength. He makes my feet like those of a deer. He makes me walk on the mountains (Habbakuk 3:17-18a).”

The Bible says the just shall live by faith; one version says “The just shall live by his faith.” Faith in God contingent on existential proofs can be shaken by life. But a holistic approach is powerful. It says, “through it all I’ve learned to trust in God.”  My relationship with God validates my faith; it’s personal.