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Friday, February 7, 2014

Struggles Never Seem to Last a Short Time

1 Peter 1:6 (ESV)
6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,

I had to have my first colonoscopy many years ago. The doctor who would do the procedure asked if I wanted anesthesia. I asked if everyone had anesthesia for this test. He said that his doctor friends didn't have anesthesia because they wanted to go back to work afterwards. I figured that I was as tough as any doctor so I told my doctor that I didn't want it either.

The pain was excruciating. I remember it clearly to this day. I didn't think that it was ever going to end even though it really couldn't have lasted more than thirty minutes. I have done some pretty stupid things in my life. This ranks up there with the most stupid. I have had four other colonoscopies since then. I don't remember any of them because I had anesthesia.

Is thirty minutes a short time? I suppose that is relative. Thirty minutes is short if you are going through pain. It isn't so short when I have to endure the same pain. I, like most, just want the pain to end.

Isn't this true of any struggle we have to go through? Each struggle seems like it will never end. We can do some pretty stupid things to get rid of the pain. We can rush to a divorce when hurt. We can quit our jobs in a moment of difficulty. We can take pills we really don't need to take. We just don't want the pain to last. We will take whatever path we can perceive to eliminate that pain.

Struggles never seem to last a short time. They appear to be permanent even when we know they can't be. I would have sworn that time had actually stopped and my non-anesthesia colonoscopy really lasted for hours. .. . maybe days!

The trials we face are different from things we do to ourselves which make us stronger. I have been riding a bicycle for several years. I started riding in Tennessee which has some pretty impressive hills. I loved the hills because I knew they made me stronger. I knew they had a downside just over the hill. That downside was fun because I could reach speeds I could never have reached on flat ground. It didn't matter that my leg muscles burned as I rode up the hills.

No, these trials have been placed upon us. We can't stop and we may not be able to see how they will make us stronger. We can't see a downhill run once we get over the trial. We look at the pain. We focus on the pain. And the pain just gets greater. We beg God to end the pain but there is no answer. We promise God anything but there is no relief.

What will is take to end our pain? There is no answer. It is something we must go through mostly without an ending time. We have to continue to do the godly thing even when we would like to end the pain with something ungodly.

But I am sure that the trial; the struggle, will not last. Death will end all the pain if nothing else does.

Nothing seems all that long once it is over. I wonder if I will forget all of the struggles in eternity. How long is thirty minutes in comparison to eternity? How long is a decade? Or even our time on this earth?

Someday I will sit at the feet of my Master in heaven and none of the struggles will seem like much. I have ro remember that when I go through tough times.

How about you? Going through a tough time? It won't last.


Anthony Chia said...

How I wish it is not like what The Lord had said, "in this world, you will have trouble" John 16:33, but it is like that, even for me - it doesn't seem to end, one after another, troubles, small and big hit my turf. Sure, the small ones, after some years, don't really stop me in my track to journey on, still rejoicing, yet the big ones are difficult to stomach, so to speak. You said it, right, "when will it end?" often ring in our mind.

The last one I had, lasted for several years. Troubles, whether, sickness, calamity, relation distress, legal tussle, etc., or combinations thereof, big ones, they do make us. We may find ourselves in these: as said in 2 Cor 4:8-9, hard pressed on every side; the trouble, it perplexes us, it persecutes us; we may even end up struck down.

Yet, that is NOT all the text of 2 Cor 4:8-9 said; it said this - "We are
hard pressed on every side, but not crushed;
perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed.

All of these troubles want to have us pinned down, and defeated. But the Word said that we are overcomers in The Lord; in Christ, we are not crushed, when hard pressed; we maybe perplexed, but we will not despair; we maybe persecuted, but we know are NOT abandoned; even when we are struck down, we want to remain "NOT destroyed". The key is in "in The Lord" or "in Christ Jesus". Without remaining in The Lord, we may not come out of trouble, overcoming.

It is NOT God is the trouble maker, the maker of our troubles (although the chastisement of God seems to fall under the same - trouble), but God does not block off every "stones" that are thrown at us.

Some years back, there was a cartoon sketch on this - showing a big man standing in front of a small guy, blocking the stones coming at the small guy, with some stones NOT being blocked by the big guy. The text against the pictures was however not quite correct; it said Jesus missed some! I commented against that text, saying that Jesus does not miss! It was that He allowed some through; He never misses. Even as I now meditate on this picture, the Holy Spirit reveals that those stones The Lord blocked, it was because He knew the little guy (you and I) was NOT yet able to take the hit or heat from them. The scripture the Holy Spirit is wanting me to say is this:


Anthony Chia said...

Cont. From above

1 Cor 10:13 (Amplified Bible) - For no temptation {testing} (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently.

In fact, the Spirit adds, the big man (Jesus) does turn and look at the little guy; that, the cartoon depiction failed to show! In other words, Jesus when He let (not He misses) a flying stone through, He doesn't leave the little guy (you and I) to be stoned, uncaring.

Really, we cannot run from all of the stones or troubles; Jesus already said, "in this world, we will have trouble"; it is how we face the trouble that makes the difference; result is different - how we are changed by it, is different.

So, even though God is NOT the troublemaker, what is He trying to achieve in allowing the trouble or stone to get at us? Scripture tells us in Romans 5:3-4, that suffering produces perseverance, and perseverance, character, and character, hope. The apostle James also spoke about this in James 1:2-4, that in facing trials of many kinds, our faith gets tested to produce perseverance, and when perseverance finishes its work, we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

We have to face our troubles IN THE LORD, and NOT in our own strength, for the result from the former is positive - our initial faith is made stronger, into a persevering faith, our character is built up into one fuller in godliness, and our hope of glory made strong (ungiving up and full of eager expectation); while the result from the latter, is not positive in that it contributes NOT, to our development of godliness.

In fact, both the Romans 5:3-4 text and the James 1:2-4 text said that we are to count it a joy or rejoice in our facing of trials or tribulations or troubles. Why can we count it joy or rejoice? In short, it is because through trials, tribulations or troubles, we are being developed of our godliness, being made mature, not lacking anything, and full of hope (of glory).

I have said we have to face our troubles IN THE LORD, and NOT in our strength; I will NOT explain here what is meant by "in The Lord". In fact, I have just put up an blog entry on my blogsite entitled "Rejoice, in The Lord, always - what's involved?", in which I explained what "in The Lord" meant. In the epistle to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul talked a lot about ALWAYS to be rejoicing. Readers can hop over to read this article:


Anthony Chia said...

Cont. From above

We should NEVER pretend that the reality of the fallen world does not exist, or that we mislead others, in our over-eagerness to win souls over to the Kingdom, or to build a mega congregation, with easy-believism.

Jesus, as a man, had to face the reality of the fallen world; He had His share of troubles, of being hard pressed on every side (but not crushed); perplexed (but not given to despair); persecuted (but not abandoned); and struck down (but not destroyed). I don't want to take up some more space, here, but I will just explain that being killed (mortal death) and get destroyed, in Scripture, were different. Destroyed is about going to Hell. So, one may lose his life but he is NOT destroyed when he is NOT going to Hell. Understanding this, we can understand why John 10:10a was worded as Satan came to steal, kill and destroy, and NOT, steal, destroy and kill; the 2 Cor 4:9 (quoted above) had it as "struck down, but not destroyed".

No, it is NOT like it was pictured by skewed overly grace teachings, that as a believer, your life would be all swell and well. The development of godliness in us, by God, over our lives, in Scripture, was metaphorically pictured like the refining of gold or silver. When we look the process of refining gold or silver, we will understand that it implies there would necessary be the "hits and heat" before purity (godliness) can be had. It is heretic of Christian leaders to move away from this very clear picture that we have to go into the crucible and be subjected to heat of refinement for purity, for holiness, for godliness. Jesus as man, went through that, and we don't escape that completely just because Jesus had gone through His.

It is an over-extension, and has come a lie, to say that just because Jesus had faced troubles, trials and tribulations, we would NOT have to face any of the same. Apostles and disciples we read in Scripture who were after The Lord understood this well. The Apostle Paul, for example, had to faced all sorts of troubles throughout his life, after he was converted from the blinding experience on the road to Damascus. In fact, one thing that makes us different from the non-believers is how we handle our troubles (NOT that we are of no more troubles); yes, we are more blessed, but it is NOT we are blessed as to be without troubles at all.

Philippians 4:4 - Rejoice in The Lord always, and again I say, rejoice.

It is NOT that I have arrived, that I can rejoice always, or NOT struggle with the tensions coming from the conflict between the desires of the world and flesh, and those of the Spirit, especially when we are facing troubles or trials. Still I know I have to love Him, and so, I have still to go by the desires of the Spirit.

What i have been repeating to myself is this, "I got to love The Lord, that is the secret to the believer's well-being, and that is the secret to going through troubles." Meditate on Ps 91:14-16 (because he love Me, ... I will be with him in trouble....), and Rom 8:28 (... good for those who love Him, ...), and you will get it.

The last big trouble of mine, as I have said at the beginning, lasted several years, and it was painful and taxing, but I came out of it, by the grace of God, improved, and I can announce it as a case of "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the chayah (H2421) {saving, healing} of many lives." Gen 50:20. All praise to God.

Looking ahead, I am concerned that another big one (of a different kind) may hit me. Struggle coming? Rough one? Protracted one? Help me, God.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions