4By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. (Hebrews 11:4. ESV.)
I did not sleep very well last night. My mind was reeling and though I try to preach to my body not to listen to my brain as it goes off on its tangents and swirls about (because I am not taking every thought captive) my body does not listen and ends up getting upset…especially my stomach.
Sometimes I cannot help but wonder about those who are true and faithful servants to God yet they suffer and sometimes die. There are so many throughout the events of the Old Testament and New Testament (in which we are still) times. Some were protected during their persecution and did not endure agony---like Daniel (in the lion’s den), Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (who were thrown into a “blazing furnace” yet walked around in there and came out unharmed).
However there were many others who underwent unimaginable torture (most of all, Christ Jesus) in being beaten, stoned, crucified, beheaded, etc. (like Stephen, Jesus and Peter, and John the Baptist to name a few).
8Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. 9Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" He said, "I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?" 10And the LORD said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. (Genesis 4:8-10. ESV.)
I am sure it is easy for one to say, “Why would an all powerful, sovereign God allow this?” The faithful answers are:
28And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28. ESV.)
8For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. (Isaiah 55:8. ESV.)
10 "Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!" (Psalm 46:10. ESV.)
9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
But as someone who is waiting on the Lord (and has been for quite a while now), it is super easy to let doubt weasel it’s way into unguarded thoughts and the heart.
6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6. ESV.)
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5. ESV.)
10fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10. ESV.)