Monday, August 1, 2011

Buffetings? Blessings!

     From Heaven, with the perfect hindsight of our glorified understanding, we will look back on our earthly lives with a far different perspective than we presently possess.  Our worst times may then be viewed as our best times, and as the episodes when we were most blessed, most secure, and most immersed in the love of God.
    "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1).
     Our Lord is present with and within His trusting children always.  "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5).  He is "very" present, however, in our challenges, difficulties, losses and pains.  This references not God's proximity, of course, but rather His heart.  He draws close to us when we are hurting because Divine love makes the suffering of others its own suffering.  "We have not a High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities" (Hebrews 4:15).
    The Word of God and the Spirit of God unite to declare the closer than our next breath presence of God when we are hurting.  The church of God must add its voice as well, that is, we must not only sympathize with fellow believers who are going through difficult times.  We must also lovingly and forthrightly challenge each other to believe the Truth.  In God's economy, suffering is often indication of rich blessing.  Our natural and initial response does not indicate this, and thus our Lord sends His Word, His Spirit and His people to remind us to open our eyes and see the "very" presence of God in difficulty.  We do each other no favors by merely coddling each other.  Our calling rather commands that we comfort with kindness, and also challenge with Truth.  Thereby are we enabled to see with spiritual eyes, and "endure, as seeing Him who is invisible" (Hebrews 11:27).
    Seeing God in our challenges begins now, not in Heaven.  We will not presently see perfectly, of course, and pain will accompany our determination to believe that our buffetings are blessings.  Nevertheless, great peace and joy await those who determine to walk the path of faith during this time when we "see through a glass, darkly" (I Corinthians 13:12).  More importantly, great glory shines forth from the Lord Jesus Christ, who alone can so fill a human heart that it peers into tombs and sees not the sadness of death, but the wonder and expectation of resurrection.
"And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha."
(I Kings 6:15-17)

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