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Category Archives: tragedy

Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) (Part 3)

screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-9-05-43-amImagine being the parent of the man born blind.  In Jewish culture physical disabilities were often thought of as God’s punishment for personal sin (see the book of Job).  Even though the Jews did not believe in the preexistence of the soul, some might have even blamed the man himself for his blindness.screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-6-19-21-am

Physical challenges are hard: verbal attacks are often more painful.  And it may be that some said painful and injurious words to the man born blind as he begged for help.  They might have said, “Why should we help you?  You’re obviously under God’s judgment!  Or at least your parents are!”

Imagine how refreshing it must have been for this blind man to hear Jesus’ response to the question, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?  “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”  The text doesn’t specifically tell us that the man born blind heard these words from Jesus, but it seems reasonable to assume so.

How could another human being make such a categorical declaration about someone else?!  “Neither this man nor his parents sinned . . .”  Who is qualified to say something like this?  ONLY GOD!  And God knows us and our sins and why we experience the tragedies that we do in life.  Jesus not only declared what was screen-shot-2017-02-17-at-6-10-39-amNOT true (“Neither this man nor his parents sinned”) but also what WAS true (“but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him”) (or COULD BE true).  Isn’t it the case that when we are suffering the real question we need an answer to is not “Why has this happened to me?”, but “FOR WHAT PURPOSE am I gong through this trial?”  And they are not the same question.  To ask WHY assumes we might challenge God’s wisdom in sending or at least allowing such and such to come into our lives.  To ask FOR WHAT PURPOSE indicates a willingness to honor God with this trial.  We need to know that our challenges are not purposeless!  And this blind man’s wasn’t!

As the great preacher Steve Brown put it, “Sometimes we serve God better with our wounds than with our wellness!” (to be continued)

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2017 in tragedy

 

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Time for a Great Cartoon! (Life’s Tragedies)

Screenshot 2016-01-05 19.36.41

“Unbearably tragic” — Do those words sometimes describe what you are going through? We might overuse the word tragic. Some teenage girls might call a broken fingernail tragic (some teenage guys are too self-absorbed to see anything as tragic!). Real tragedies are a burned-down house, a daughter’s broken engagement, a son’s near-fatal car accident (all of which my family has experienced).

Without the Lord, I don’t know how anyone deals with the tragedies of life! He is our Rock. He is our Comfort. He is the One who sustains us and gives us peace when life is falling apart around us.

I grew up on the King James Bible and I love the verse which says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee; because he trusteth in Thee” (Is. 26:3). Please notice:

1. “Perfect peace”: Not a tad of calmness or a trace of tranquility, but perfect peace.  Not a peace we manufacture through positive thinking.

2.  “whose mind is stayed on Thee”:  Focusing on Him instead of our present calamity!  Valuing Him above all other matters in life.

3.  “because he trusteth in Thee”:  Trust is not a once-for-all injection of spiritual adrenaline.  My trust in the Lord is tested every day.  Sometimes by small matters; occasionally by large, punch-in-the stomach circumstances.

How about you? Right now?  Is your life more like a new crayon Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 6.40.05 AM“lined up in order, bright, and perfect”?  Or more like “a bunch of ground-down, rounded, indistinguishable stumps, missing their wrappers and smudged with other colors”?   Don’t stand there, immobilized and lamenting your situation.  Allow the Lord to paint the picture He wants to paint with the colors that you have.  Right now.

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2016 in tragedy

 

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VANISHING PROBLEMS (Part 4)

Friends:

In our last few posts we have talked about the Nationwide commercial about vanishing deductibles. We asked, “Wouldn’t it be great if all our difficulties vanished like the problems depicted in that commercial?”

We then began looking at 2 Corinthians 12 for Paul’s response to his problems.  That text reads:

We noticed the principle that God has the power to do what He needs to do to keep us humble and trusting Him.  We’ve also seen that we can ask the Lord to take away our thorns, but we cannot demand that He do so. He is sovereign over our lives. 

Let’s notice one additional lesson from this text today and it is this:  There are reasons for our trials and difficulties, sometimes simply that God’s power is shown in our weaknesses.  We sometimes rebel against weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties simply because we don’t see the purpose of them.  They appear to us as interruptions — barriers to keep us from getting where we want to be.  But what if they aren’t barriers, but stepping-stones divinely placed in our path to make us more like Christ?

Questions:

1.  What is the 1st weakness, insult, hardship, persecution, or difficulty that immediately comes to your mind that God has allowed in your life?

2  You are certainly free to pray that God would take that away.  But what if He wants to use that for His glory?  Will you pray, “Lord, please give me grace to bear that challenge so that Christ will be glorified in my life”?

 
 

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