Monday, July 21, 2014

July 21 – Problems the size of our faith

No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others.  And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it.  (1 Corinthians 10:13  NET)

This is one of my favorite promises in the Bible, one that I constantly use when counseling others, and one that comforts and strengthens me.  It makes a whole lot of sense, and is a thought that is constantly being challenged by the devil.  It’s so easy for him to plant the idea in people’s heads that God is unfair and mean for allowing us to go through problems that are too big for us when He could stop them or heal us or defeat our enemies for us.  Many people have allowed their faith to be weakened because they inadvertently blame God for burdening them with unbearable loads.  But if God is the bad-guy, none of us has any hope.

Another trick that the devil repeatedly uses are the thoughts: “You are the ONLY one with this kind of problem, you are REALLY bad off, don’t even tell anyone how bad you are, you’re some kind of FREAK.”  How many people walk through their local mall, or on their job site or even in their church, convinced that everyone else is just fine, while they are the embarrassing loser?  Just based on my informal poll of all the people I have ever counseled, a vast majority of people struggle with those thoughts.  When you fall for that lie, insecurity blocks you from building healthy friendships and fear of rejection creates erratic behavior that in the end actually pushes people and opportunities further away from you.  That’s why Jesus made sure that we knew that there is absolutely nothing that the devil attacks us with that he hasn’t used on others as well. 

But more than the comfort of knowing our problems are common to everyone, is the knowledge that God always promises a way out. God will show us an escape when we’re tangled up in problems.  God doesn’t promise an escape only when we’ve been perfect, He gives escapes to those who choose to trust in Him.  Even if the mess we’re in was caused by our own foolishness or negligence (and it usually is, isn’t it?)  God promises to show us a way out as soon as we sincerely turn to Him.  

I’ve heard many complaints from people who said they begged and pleaded for a way out, but God wouldn’t move a finger.  But on closer investigation, I discovered that God had been showing them a way out all along, but they just didn’t like His way out, and so, they ignored Him.  We can’t complain to our Lord that His way doesn’t suit our tastes and that He should put together another idea more agreeable to us.  But people do that all the time.  Usually only those who value God’s help find all the secret ways to escape the traps.  They are humble, and when God says, “Here is my way out,” they go.  They not only find ways of escape from the devil, but they find shortcuts to further blessings just because they chose to trust and obey.

So when your pastor gives you counsel such as, “Come to church more often,” or “start treating your family with more kindness,” don’t roll your eyes at the challenge, just take it that this is God showing you a way out of the problems.  Whether you really want a way out or not is up to you.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks bishop, many of the anxieties I used to have, and just recently had after this Campaign of Salomon's Temple, are hard to talk about with pastors or even to another bishop like you because of lack of time, or plain tiredness. Sometimes I got misunderstood for being unable to remember the right words and true, exact facts, but I don't need to talk to anybody anymore, since you openly write about it. I don't need to stay quiet in fear, or in doubt anymore, crying for someone to explain things so I could understand. These passages do really teach me sthg. and give me the comfort I need while being active in full faith. You and your wife are in my Family Book of prayer.