By Dai Ning
In real life, every time we face unfortunate events such as setbacks and diseases, we may think that God has forsaken and no longer protected us, and thereby sink into negativity and lose our faith in God. Yet as long as we pray to God in this environment and understand His will, such a mistaken viewpoint of ours will be turned around.
In your belief in the Lord, what do you expect to receive from Him?
Peace that is present regardless of time or place, or blessings that you ask for?
For everyone, the witness of marvelous grace is more popular than truth and sermons.
It seems as if the Lord were forever the embodiment of grace, blessings, compassion, and mercy. And because of this, after we believe in the Lord, we expend for Him with great enthusiasm, and are willing to follow Him all our life.
Then, there comes a day when the Lord turns His face away from us and baptizes us with discipline, frustrations, diseases, and trials. At such time, our faith in Him suddenly turns cold, and we become full of misunderstanding and blame for God, to the point of being too weak to rise up.
There was once a sister who was like this.
After returning to the Lord, her years of illness was cured and her business also thrived.
The Lord’s grace was so abundant that she could not use it up in a short time. Then, in the fullness of her heart she resolved to repay the Lord’s love all her life. For many years, she often donated money and when having time, she also went out to preach the—her enthusiasm was indeed obvious to all.
Yet unexpectedly, a sudden misfortune came upon her: She met her Waterloo in business, and as a result went bankrupt overnight. And she also fell ill at the same time.
Facing all this, she earnestly prayed to the Lord for His motherly mercy. But the Lord did not seem to treat her the same way as before.
During that time, a rumor from herreached her ears that she must have been forsaken by the Lord as a result of doing something wrong.
That night, she wailed and prayed to the Lord: “Oh, Lord! Where are You? Have You really forsaken me?”
However, she received no response from the Lord. Gradually, she concluded that the Lord had truly abandoned her. She thought: In the past God’s grace had always followed her in everything she did, while now she was without the protection of the Lord. If it was not due to the abandonment of the Lord, what are the other reasons for that?”
Thus, she lived in the midst of suffering and helplessness and did not know how to face all of this. She then stayed at home and sighed all day long.
One day, several Christian sisters came to visit her. They read her two passages of words, and her complaints and misunderstandings of God were thus resolved.
The words they read say: “My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2-4). “Silly children! You always feel that a few lucky words count as My blessing, yet don’t feel that bitterness is one of My blessings. Those who share in My bitterness shall certainly share My sweet. That is My promise and My blessing to you” (“The Forty-first Utterance” of God’s Utterances to the Entire Universe).
After listening to these words and their fellowship about the words, she finally understood: Her encountering the unfortunate events such as setbacks and diseases did not, as she imagined, mean that God had forsaken her and no longer protected her, rather, it was God’s trial as well as refinement. It turns out that these things contained God’s good intentions. Through them, God was to let her know that she had been holding a mistaken viewpoint on her belief in God, thinking that peace in everything was a form of God’s blessing and meant that God was with her, while encountering unfortunate events meant that God had forsaken her. Then she thought of her past: When God cured her illness and blessed her with a successful career after she first believed in God, she made a resolution to repay God’s love, and was able to willingly donate money, and to go out to preach the gospel when having time. But later on, when suffering a business loss and illness, she lost her faith in God and even blamed and misunderstood Him. From this, she saw that in her belief in God, there were impurities, transactions, and demand. Actually, God is the Creator, and we men are just created beings. God has given us life and supplied us with all things necessary for our survival, such as air, food, the truth that we require, etc. Therefore, it is the law of heaven and earth that we men believe in and worship God. If our belief in God is only for the sake of being blessed and claiming grace from Him, then God will not approve of our belief. Thank God for letting her realize her mistaken viewpoint on her belief in God. Through the sisters’ fellowship, she also realized that in addition to exposing that her belief in God involved a tradeoff, God’s allowing her to encounter these things was to perfect her faith in God, so that she would not lose faith in Him at any time. Without experiencing these things, no matter how many years she followed the Lord, or how much grace and protection she received from the Lord, her stature would forever be as little as an infant’s and she would only know to demand grace and blessings from the Lord and bearof grace, yet never know how to be firm in faith and bear glorious and resounding witness for God in all types of environments.
At this point, let’s see the faith that Job, our spiritual model, displayed during his trials, where his livestock, enough to cover a mountain, was robbed, all his possessions were lost, and his body became covered with sore boils. At that time, his wife thought he shouldn’t have suffered misfortune even with his faith in God, thus asking him to curse God and die, and his friends said that he must have offended God and was thus abandoned by God, yet Job did not think like that, nor did he blame God; rather, he said such rational words: “shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). All this proved that Job did not conduct transactions with God in his belief. He believed that no matter whether he was given blessings or misfortune, it was God’s design and arrangement, so he should unconditionally accept it. Moreover, in such environment, instead of sinning with his lips, Job sought and waited for God’s will to be revealed to him, and eventually he was able to bear resounding witness for God by saying: “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1: 21). And his faith in Jehovah God was elevated during this trial.
Therefore, at all times, setbacks and trials are what we need in our spiritual life, and are God’s greatest love and salvation for us. Through experiencing them, we can realize our impurities in our belief in God, and moreover understand that these unfortunate events befalling us do not mean that God has abandoned us; instead, it means God is purifying and perfecting us. Aren’t these gains much better than any material blessing?
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