Sunday, May 1, 2011

Family talk with Dr James Dobson

Faith in Tough Times

I love getting Dr. James Dobson's Family talk newsletter in the mail. It always has something uplifting and enouraging. This week in particular it was really applicable for me. Last year my family went through a time where we witnessed sickness and death first hand. Seems like it has continued into 2011 and it seems to be all around me. Nonetheless, my heart has been in a constant state of grieving. As a Christian, people ask me "Why does this happen? If God loved us why would He put us through this?" I cannot answer it, wish I could though. So here is a little bit of comfort from Family Talk newsletter. Go HERE to sign up for the monthly newsletter.

"Theologioans have struggled with the "why" questions for as long as mankind has been on earth. Most of the patriarchs of the Bible struggled in vain to understand their circumstances. Job suffered the loss of his health, his earthly possessions, his family and his reputation. Even his friends abandoned him. His response was to ask a series of amazingly articulate questions to Jehovah, who never answered any of them. We learn from this dialog that God will not be accountable to man.  Yet we continue to ask.

Even Jesus said while hanging on the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46). It comes down to this: suffering and death are part of the human condition. Hebrews 9:27 reads, "It is appointed unto men once to die and after that the judgment." It is part of the divine plan.

What, then, does the Lord want of us when suffering and perplexing circumstances come our way? It is His will that we continue to trust Him even when we can't track Him. He values faith more than any other response. Proverbs 3:5 tells us to, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." This Scripture does not prohibit us from trying to understand-but warns us not to "lean" on it. Leaning in this context is demanding answers and becoming angry at the Lord when a quick explanation doesn't come. Instead, he wants us to hold tightly to the promises of god, who assured us He will never abandon us. He is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

And this is one of my favorite passages: "The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:18). His provision of comfort is secure. It will see us through the storms of life-even when we cross the chilly waters of death.

In short, we live in a broken world that brings with it pain and suffering. Jesus told his disciples just before he was crucified, "In the world you will have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). His words seem like a contradiction. how can we have "tribulation" but also be of "good cheer?" It is because the Lord loves us and He has the answers to every "why" that confronts us. "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then I shall know even as also I am know: (1 Corinthians 13:12).

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