Thursday, March 11, 2010

Storms and Suffering

This morning as I began reading my devotions, I quickly discovered a common thread running throughout, storms and suffering. I am a bit of a slow learner sometimes but when the same thing continued to pop up in the different books written by different people during different times, it really caught my attention. In fact, while I know that the words from the devotion writers are not inspired, I was reminded of how God used different men from different backgrounds and over hundreds of years to pen inspired Scripture using one common theme, the love of God for His created people by providing salvation through Jesus, some looking forward, a few looking eye-to-eye, and us looking backward.

As I began to read, I put those different thoughts down on paper and now on this blog. I do hope and pray the words will help you where you have been, where you are right now, or in what you will be facing in days ahead.

"Watch for the storms of God. The only way God plants His saints is through the whirlwind of His storms....If you select your own spot to be planted, you will prove yourself to be an unproductive, empty pod. However, if you will allow God to plant you, you will 'bear much fruit' (John 15:8)." Oswald Chambers

"God punishes the ungodly by ignoring them. This is why they have success in the world--the most frightful punishment because in God's view, this world is immersed in evil. But God sends suffering to those whom He loves, as assistance to enable them to become happy by loving Him." Soren Kierkegaard

"You assume (God) relieve(s) struggle and replace(s) it with rest. But (He) use(s) struggle to uncover a rest beneath the struggle that no anguish can destroy. The struggle with fear and pain will continue. Only in the storm will you know there is an anchor." Larry Crabb

"The Psalms are not an anesthetic. They are not a cup of hot chocolate on a cold night. They are the prayers of someone lost in a dark wood, shivering in bitter cold, unable to stand the fierce wind. They are the praise that flows from that person's heart when he abandons himself to (God) for deliverance, when he trusts that (God's) hand has grasped his and that (God) is leading him home, very slowly but very surely. Job learned that he must die to the hope that darkness and cold and wind were not part of (God's) plan." Larry Crabb

"Your tears will become the melody of a new song. Your darkness will become the wind through which new light will appear. Your doubt will become new ground, solid ground, on which to stand. Expect your theological boxes to explode, to lose all false hope in what (God's) love will provide in this life. Expect your personal dreams to shatter, to lose all false confidence in what (God's) power guarantees in this life. Meditate on each psalm, knowing that (God) is calling you to walk a long road that, for long seasons, you will not enjoy. Then decide, again and again: either cling to (God) as I AM or reshape (Him) into who you want (Him) to be. The stakes are high. Either you will find yourself in finding (God) as (He) reveals (Himself), or you will lose yourself in creating (Him) to fit your foolish expectations. Make the right choice. (He) want(s) you to sing a new song." Larry Crabb

"You are either in a storm, coming out of a storm, or headed for a storm--life is stormy. In the midst of our personal storm, we, too, need the One who used the sea as a sidewalk to save us: we too need to proclaim, 'Truly You are the Son of God.' Only Christ can bring calm in the midst of calamity. It is not natural to have peace in the midst of a storm--it is supernatural! Human nature shuns storms; divine nature stills storms. When faith cries out, 'Lord save me!' the hand of God reaches down and picks us up. Let Jesus bring you victory in the midst of your storm today." Allan Taylor

This is my thought for today.

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