Friday, December 3, 2010

Beauty from Ashes

Where do we get the idea that we can advise God? In our prayers we direct Him and tell Him what to do, as if He doesn’t know already. We devise a god of our own understanding and when our god fails us, we become angry with God as if it’s His fault for not coming through. We blame God as if it’s His fault for the problems in our lives. If only I wasn’t born into this particular family. If only I didn’t have this learning disability or this disease. If only people hadn’t abused me. If only, all these bad things had not happened, I would be okay. We often live as victims, blaming God, or others, when really He desires only to bring beauty from the ashes.

All the events of your life are designed by God to bring you to God in a plan that is beyond comprehension. God works all things together, whether seemingly good or bad, to bring maximum glory to Himself and significance and meaning to your life.

So pain is part of that process. We learn obedience through what we suffer. Well, God, we might grumble, that is not fair. And He says to us, who are you, o created one, to argue with your Maker? God did not even spare His own Son in the greatness of His plan to save you. Jesus learned obedience through what He suffered, and He lived completely without sin. He obeyed His Father even to the point of death, even death on a cross. A humiliating death; A death where He was beaten, stripped, nailed to a cross and held up in total humiliation for all to see. And God was pleased to crush Him because of the good that would ultimately come. It was for the joy set before Him that He, Jesus, endured the cross, despising the shame and sat down at the right hand of God. God highly exalted Jesus, yet He did not allow even His Son to avoid suffering and pain.

Through our pain, we come to know God and to rest in Him. We realize that we can do nothing apart from Him. Nothing at all. We learn that even in the pain of this world, the things people do to us, the calamities that come; God works all these things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Even the worst events of our lives, God weaves them together for good and brings beauty from them. He sets us free and He heals us. He binds up our broken hearts and heals our wounds. He causes His righteousness to shine out from us when we surrender to Him by faith. He enables us to love as He loves, with no agenda, but to set us completely free to depend fully on Him. The events of our lives lose their power over us as we begin to see as God sees.

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