Who in their right minds would prefer hard times to easy? Ask 100 people which they prefer and 100 would answer the same: give me the GOOD TIMES!
So how does one account for two very strange statements I heard recently? At a small group a woman started her word of praise to God by saying, “I thank God for my stroke.” Then in May, while in Nepal assisting earthquake victims, I heard a man say, “I thank God for the earthquake.”
Crazy, right? But consider the fuller context of both.
In the case of the woman, she was thankful for her stroke because it brought her back to the Lord and also was healing her relationship with her estranged son. Though walking is now a bit of a challenge for her body, in a figurative sense, her spirit has a new spring in its step!
The man in Nepal is a pastor, and he has good reason to thank God for the April 25th 7.8-magnitude earthquake. Though his life has been very hard since that fateful day, he rejoices because the earthquake has brought his neighbors to their church, seeking a safe place to sleep. The close contact between believers and unbelievers has resulted in eight people trusting Christ. They were planning the baptism service for the following week. (Link to video below.)
Makes one wonder if, as Paul and Silas left Philippi, they, too, were thanking God for the earthquake, the fruit of which was a newly saved jailer and his newly-believing family!
These cases are not anomalies. You probably know people like a gal I know, whose prickly and, at times, difficult temperament has been completely transformed since her cancer diagnosis! Today she is pleasant and overwhelmed with gratitude to all the friends she has discovered she has. She never knew such joy B.C. (before cancer).
So, there’s obviously another side of suffering, a side we could call an “inconvenient truth.” This truth is hinted at by the Apostle James in his bizarre statement, “Consider it pure joy whenever you face trails of many kinds…” (James 1:2)
For the next couple of weeks these devotionals will be on the function of “things-going-badly” in our lives. We may reach some surprising conclusions about crises, ourselves, the human experience, and yes, even about God.
What do you think? Start the conversation by leaving a comment!