Monday, October 19, 2009

I Will Follow You

Sometimes I feel God calls us to follow Him yet He does not quite say where. And a stepping out in faith is in order. No matter what the face of tribulation looks like (whether it is physical illness, a sick child, strife, persecution, abuse, depression, alcoholism, drugs, sexual temptation, death, financial hardship, loss, etc.) it causes us to rely solely on God and trust in His unfailing grace. It brings us to our knees, seeking Him for wisdom, strength, and endurance. Like an earthquake it sobers us to the reality it is not all about man but rather Him and He can move mountains while we are so utterly small, insignificant, and helpless. Trials, suffering, and heartache are all about God’s glory.

Yet I find myself toiling at times forgetting to do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31…Insert Seeds song here.) But this past week, I have to admit, I have been working REALLY hard at staying focused on Him…even to the point of staying silent, watching my tribulation closely, and intently obeying as God moves my heart though I feel I am walking in (almost complete) darkness. I follow as God places certain individuals in my life each step of the way and grants me wisdom as it is needed. Tribulation does not just go away and thankfully it does not have to be battled alone. A diagnosis and plan are only the BEGINNING and the body and church are there to help.

I also look to Job and the harsh conditions he suffered. Regarding Job John Piper reminds me,
“…there is good evidence from all over the world that the wicked often prosper and the righteous often suffer (21:29-30). And in his case in particular he was not an enemy of God and had not committed any grievous sin that would set him up for such suffering above others….

“…Elihu does not picture God as an angry judge but as a Redeemer, a Savior, a Rescuer, a Doctor. The pain he causes is like the surgeon's knife, not like the executioner's whip….

“…affliction makes a righteous person sensitive to his remaining sinfulness and helps him hate it and renounce it. Suffering opens the ear of the righteous (v. 10). The psalmist said the same thing in Psalm 119:71, "It was good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes." There are dimensions of godliness that the righteous can only learn through affliction….

“…Verses 13-14 describe one group of people for whom suffering results in nothing but destruction—they are the "godless in heart." But then (in v. 15) he describes another group whose ears are opened in their affliction and who experience deliverance by their affliction. These are not the godless or the wicked. They are the righteous. They are the people like Job, who are upright, and fear God, and turn away from evil, and have a blameless reputation. They suffer, too. But the divine purpose is not the same….

…The suffering has brought out the hidden sin of pride in Job. Now Job's ear has been opened to his remaining imperfection. Now he can repent and be cleansed and depend on God as he never had before. His suffering was not only an occasion for God to get glory over Satan (which we saw in chapters 1 and 2); it was also an occasion for God to deepen Job's insight and trust and godliness….

“…Suffering is not dispensed willy-nilly among the people of God. It is apportioned to us as individually designed, expert therapy by the loving hand of our great Physician. And its aim is that our faith might be refined, our holiness might be enlarged, our soul might be saved, and our God might be glorified.” (By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org.)


In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6-7)


Our Father disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:10-11)


We were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself. Why, we felt that we had received the sentence of death; but that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:8-9)


Therefore, count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)
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