Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Congratulations, You Have Problems

“Your most profound and intimate experiences of worship will likely be in your darkest days-when your heart is broken, when you feel abandoned, when you’re out of options, when the pain is great-and you turn to God alone”.Rick Warren, A Purpose-Driven Life

So what do you do when life feels like one long fumble in the dark, an endless blackout where both your arms are outstretched looking for a light switch and all you keep doing is bumping into wooden furniture, searching for this switch? What do you do when you refuse to accept a bribe and now you are being transferred to the bottom-of-the-food chain department, or your boss is sexually harassing you and you are just thinking about giving in?what do you do when you’ve lost your job because you tried to steal from the company to pay your mother’s hospital bills…what do you when you have lost a loved one? what do you do, what do you what do you do….when you have run out of options?
I can only tell you what I do. I cry. I cry in the middle of the night, I cry in the middle of the day. I cry, I cry, I cry the anguish-my-heart-is-shredding-to-pieces-cry. And yet, “it is during suffering that we learn to pray our most authentic, heartfelt, honest-to-God prayers…we don’t have the energy for superficial prayers”. These are the big-word-prayers where empty words and phrases like, ‘iniquities’, ‘thy righteousness’ and ‘thine rapture’ are used.
during our dark times our prayers are short and succinct. They are silent like desperate tear-stained whispers. We come to His throne ashamed, our heads hung low, “Jesus, I messed up. Show me what to do?”
We get bitter and angry and ask, “why?why me, Lord?what did I do to deserve this?”
And Romans 8: 28-29 gives us an answer, “and we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
This scripture reading gives you the good news and the challenging news of why you are having these dark times.
The good news:
If you are going through dark times right now, then congratulations, you are going to Heaven, you are already predestined to be there. Baby Christians, be comforted in that. Your name is written in the palm of His Hand.
The challenging news:
You are ‘predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son’. You will go through these dark days to be more Christ-like so that you can fulfill His purpose on Earth and in Heaven.
Do not dwell on the ‘why this happening to you?’ I tried that and did not get anywhere except more depressed, more anger and more bitterness. Rather focus on the ‘what is God trying to tell me?what is God asking me to do to fulfill His purpose?”
Grow through your problems rather than avoid them. Own up to those whom you need owning up to, forgive those who you need to be forgiving to, love those who you should be loving to and so on, and so on. Avoidance will only lead you straight back to a Biblical drawing board, meaning if He is not getting your attention in this problem then He will find another problem to get your attention, and another and another and another until He brings you down to your knees, crying to the Heavens, “Enough!.. ‘speak Lord, your servant is listening’ ” (Samuel 3:10)
And then you will have more problems that will mould you to be more Christ-like, for "we must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God." (Acts 14:22) So Congratulations, you have problems and so do I.

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