Yesterday’s post was about disappointment. But, I want this blog to be a place where we find encouragement for the fight and strength for tomorrow. Yet, disappointment is real my life, as it is in yours; it is a very real part of living in this fallen world. Because disappointment is a part of life, where can we find encouragement for the fight and strength for tomorrow? The only place I know to look is to the Creator of heaven and earth. He made this earth perfect, but sin has marred the perfection with which God created the world.
Because this world is no longer the perfect place God designed, we suffer before “wave goodbye and ‘[slip] the surly bonds of earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.'” But, God offers hope in the midst of that suffering. He has not left us as orphans that we might face untold perils on life’s sea alone. He loves us, He guards us, and He will walk with us. Let us find courage and determination, not in ourselves, but in the truthfulness and beauty of God’s Word.
Here are some passages of Scripture which can give us hope when we are hurting and disappointed:
- And Jehovah God formed man out of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul (Gen 2:7). Although our bodies are susceptible to disease and death because sin entered the world (Rom 5:12), God is the One who made us. No evolution from some primordial soup. No primates who became men. Jehovah God made us, and He breathed into us “the breath of life.”
- When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained, what is man that you remember him? And the son of man that you succor him? For you have made him but little lower than messengers and crowned him with glory and honor” (Psa 8:3-5).The God who made all that is made us. He loves us. He cares for us, and He has made us “but little lower than messengers.” The angels are higher than we, but only by a little.
- He will not always chide, nor will he keep it forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his loving kindness toward those who fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pities his sons, So Jehovah pities those who fear him. For he knows our frame. He remembers that we are dust (Psa 103:9-14).God remembers that we aren’t superhuman; He remembers we are dust. He loves us. He will forgive us as we fear Him. He will remove our sins from us as far as the east is from the west.
- And he also spoke a parable to them, to show that, it is essential for them to always pray and not to be depressed (Luke 18:1).
When life doesn’t go as we had planned. We don’t give up; we don’t throw in the towel; we don’t become depressed. Instead, we pray. We always pray. We make prayer a habit in our lives. We go to our Father’s throne regularly.
- For brethren, we do not wish you to be ignorant in regard to our affliction which happened to us in Asia, that we were burdened down surpassingly, beyond our power, so-that we despaired even of life. But, we ourselves have had the condemnation of death in ourselves, that we should not have confidence in ourselves, but in God, who is raising up the dead. He rescued us out of so-great a death and is rescuing us; in whom we have hoped that he will also still rescue us (2 Cor 1:8-10).God won’t give you more than you can handle, right? God allowed Paul to suffer more than he could handle; the Apostle says that he “despaired even of life.” That suffering had a purpose, however, Paul came to put no confidence in himself but in God who raises the dead.
Coming back from my disappointing neurologist visit on Wednesday, Tammy asked me a startling question, “Justin, do you ever think of ending all the pain?” She asked out of her concern and love, and such a question is not out of place when someone has excruciating agony with every step he takes. My answer was quick and serious: “No!” I’ll be honest, however, if I didn’t know that the resurrection of Jesus Christ were a historical event that gives purpose and meaning to life, I would have ended this earthly existence long ago. But, God raises the dead through Jesus Christ; that gives purpose and meaning to every life. “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow!”
When someone tells me that God will not give me more than I can handle, I want to look that person in the eye, and say, “Baloney!” There are two serious, serious problems with that statement:
- God does not cause disaster.
Romans 5 shows that death has come into this world because sin is in this world. Do you want to blame someone for pain and suffering in this world? Blame the Evil One who beguiled Eve, blame Adam who willing took of the fruit his wife handed him. The blame lies at their feet, not at the feet of God.
- Satan brings disaster.
In the first two chapters of Job, Job suffers immense pain and suffering. But, it is Satan who goes before the throne of the Most High God and asks permission to torment Job (I find great comfort in the fact that Job could only torment Job to the extent that God permitted). Yes, that brings about the question, “Why does God permit pain and suffering?” Job wanted to know that answer, too, and he begged God for that answer. At the end of the Book of Job, Jehovah God speaks to Job in a whirlwind and says, in essence, He reigns over the universe, and He knows far more than Job does; Job can never understand in his mortal existence the unsearchable things of God.
- God does not cause disaster.
- He himself has said, I may never be lax concerning you, nor should I ever forsake you. So-that we, being courageous, may say, The Lord is my helper and I will not fear. What will man do to me?” (Heb 13:5-6).Regardless of the struggle, regardless of the difficulty, God will never leave or forsake us. We can face tomorrow without fear, for man can do nothing to us. Man can do so much evil: Look at Auschwitz or the World Trade Center or genocide in Africa. Yet, nothing, no human or no disease, can ever touch us. Bodies die; spirits return to God. Those who die in Christ receive the greatest blessings when this life is over.
- And I heard a great voice from heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men and he will reside with them and they will be his people and God himself will be with them and will be their God. And he will wipe-away every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more; neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more. The first things have passed away (Rev 21:3-4)One great day, I will not feel like screaming in agony every time I take a step. I won’t need to leave events I really want to attend because the pain is too great. I won’t take my prescribed medications and sleep when I should be writing. Those things will be over. God will be with me and with all the saints of all the ages. No more pain. No more crying. No more death. No more suffering. God will have annihilated evil with the breath of His mouth.
There are a host of other verses in God’s Holy Word that will provide comfort in suffering. I plan to provide another list next Friday.
In the meantime, commit yourself to knowing these verses of Scripture. Commit them to memory. Write them upon your heart. Put them on your refrigerator so you see them time after time after time. When disappointment comes, when anguish comes, you will have a bedrock upon which to stand: The great and awesome promises of the Almighty God!
Until Monday morning, God bless.