O, Contentment, where art thou?
“Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword, they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated…wandering about in deserts, and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” (Hebrews 11:38, ESV)
Does this sound like “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life?” Or what part of the experience of these dear saints make up “your best life now?” Sometimes God has a very definite purpose in allowing trials, tribulation, and testing to fall upon His beloved children. Did you notice there is a phrase missing from this passage? I left it out intentionally in order for the suffering, want, and need to overwhelm you of these dear children of God. I thought that would make this statement even more powerful and mind-boggling: “…of whom the world was not worthy…”
The world defines success as large, numerous, plentiful, wealthy, or that you have all you want or need. False teachers pounce on the church at large as a tiger pounces on its prey with the same mind set. False teachers are never satisfied and they are never full, they are always looking to feed the desires of the flesh.
There are times that God blesses us beyond our imagination. God is the epitome of good and goodness. All of our expectations are birthed in the awareness of God’s goodness to His creation and creatures. God delights in doing good to His children. Even in this life God shows His goodness beyond our redemption by giving us diverse and numerous tangible blessings.
But, yes, but what if I should suffer need or want? What if I were to go unclothed or to experience poverty what then? Would my heart be drawn to God’s love? Would I prize God’s love? Would I continue to be, as Paul said, constrained by God’s love? If I were denied all blessings would God remain good?
It is often the demonstration of God’s mercy, grace, and goodness to afflict me and try me with want or needs. The Psalmist said this didn’t he? “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.” (Psalm 119:67, ESV) “It is good for me that I was afflicted that I might learn your statutes. The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” (Psalms 119:71-72, ESV)
It is usually in trials, tribulation, or great testing that we see our sin and begin to develop the desire to be severed from our sin. What is your prayer in times like these? Is it, “O Lord., let me willingly accept misery, sorrows, and temptations if I can feel sin as the greatest evil.” Do we acknowledge the sinfulness of our sin and beg to be delivered from it? Do we acknowledge that the want or need that brings us to cry out for cleansing from our sin as the greatest evidence of Gods’ love for us? Or do we want all the blessings of God available regardless of the condition of our soul?
What say ye?