When words fail… Part 2
I don’t want this blog to discourage anyone from comforting a friend in need or feel that their words are pointless. I just want people to be able to see that when we speak God’s word as intended, to lift up the broken-hearted, to bind their wounds instead of laying them bare and adding a few more for good measure thinking that God will use it for His good. Our purpose in this life is not to wound each other. It is to encourage and edify each other through each trial that life brings… So with that being said I want to speak truth…
The truth is
that in this life there will be
trials, heartaches, sadness, grief and losses.
The truth is that it is in those trials and grief that God wants to
and will do His best work if we allow Him to.
It says in James 1:2
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.”
This coming from Paul who knew more than almost any other person about trials and a rough life. He had been shipwrecked, many assassination attempts on his life, beaten multiple times, exiled from so many places, abandoned by others, imprisoned, stoned, and eventually killed.
And why you ask?
Why would a person be willing to go through so much
heartache, trauma and pain?
Through all of this how did he find the strength to count it all joy?
How did he find the strength to lift up the body of Christ through His letters? What gave him the ability to still find hope, contentment, and a reason to continue on?
1) He kept the perspective that it wasn’t personal.
I know that sounds crazy, as soon as I typed it out I wanted to delete it however I believe that was straight from God and I will tell you why…
I know my whole life I have just wanted to find others love, acceptance and a place of belonging. So much so that many times I compromised on who I was, did what I thought others wanted me to do and sought the approval of others above anything else. This past year was a challenge because no matter what I did there really weren’t many who showed any approval or many who felt I never did a good enough job. Those people who speak those things affect us so much more don’t they?
We take to heart those negative things spoken over us instead
of listening to the people who encourage, accept and love us.
Yet because of that season, it pushed me towards God, who I didn’t understand and felt was unhappy with me. He was gently trying to speak truth to me, to remind me that even when I didn’t see Him as good, faithful and an ally it didn’t change His character or the truth that He was all of those things and more. It kept me on my knees and in the word so that I could learn who this God was that would make everything yet want to be personal and intimate with me. I am learning that He has never wanted my service, He wants me!
Can you believe that?
He wants the messy, emotional, all over the place,
caring, heartbroken shell of a person that I am.
He wants to know me and
He wants to know you intimately.
Paul knew something that I still need to learn.
He knew how much the world hated Jesus.
He knew that they were bound to hate him as well
because he was speaking truth.
He was speaking of the grace and truth that set people free.
I am definitely not putting myself up there with Paul! Trust me I have so much more to learn and grow in. I don’t think I will ever reach where Paul was yet like Paul I want to share where I am at even though I know I haven’t arrived. I need to get to the point where I know that people may not like what I have to say because it is truth and be ok with that. I want to get to the point in my life where I want to proclaim what God is doing and not worry or fear what man thinks.
2) Paul knew that He was not alone.
God had not abandoned Paul nor was it punishment from God
when Paul experienced trials, heartaches and grief.
We have to quit telling people who it is something that they are doing wrong
in their lives or sin that is causing the trial, pain or sickness.
It says in Romans 8:38
It is so easy to listen to the murmurings of others that something in your life is causing these problems.
It is easy to start believing that something you say or do can separate you from God.
It is easy to think that you have just messed up again and again which makes Him so angry with you that He would turn His back on you.
My friend those are all lies and those are the people and thoughts that we have to avoid.
Don’t get me wrong… there are times in my life when I was blatantly walking away from a God that died to know me. I was walking in my selfish ways with only a desire to get my needs met. I was choosing sin as a temporary fix to make my flesh feel better.
I am not talking about that.
I am talking about a life that is truly seeking to live a life that shines His light. I am talking about a person that has identified their need for a savior because they know that in themselves they do not have what it takes to enter Heaven. I am talking about a relationship with a God that loves you so very much that while we were still His enemies He sent His son for us.
Paul knew that when he was on the road to Damascus getting ready to go and murder more christians in the name of the high priest that God appeared to him and totally and radically transformed his life.
That is the only thing that got Paul through the trials that would play out in his life.
3) Paul knew that trials would create things in him that he wouldn’t be able to do in his own strength.
In Romans 5 it says:
As humans we want an easy, stress-free, trial free life.
And when trials come into people’s lives some are quick to point a finger that it must be them sinning and God punishing them.
This is a prime example of where our words and spiritual alcaldes can wound instead
of lift up, mend and offer life.
Paul reminds us that it’s those trying times when our faith is built. It is the foundation that we can build a life that is confident in the hope that we have. Not in any person because we are all just humans.
We will disappoint, fall short and say the wrong things.
But God never will.
He wants to be our hope and stay.
He wants us to come to the realization and understanding that He is not only good, BUT…
He is good to me!
Last but definitely not least,
4) Paul knew that to live was Christ.
Paul knew that he had a God-given purpose for his life. He knew it would be hard, he knew there would be major trials in his life, he knew that his life was not his own. He knew that you and I would need to hear of his pain thousands of years later so that we would not lose heart or quit running the race.
Pain is a megaphone to a hurting world,
It lets us know that we are not alone in this life.
Paul’s chains were for the furtherance of the gospel, He knew it was worth it all in the end.
Paul knew that through it all he would run the race set before him and know that to live was Christ but to die for Him was gain!
Philippians 1:21-24 says:
“For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.
But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better.
I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ,
which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.”
Can I really say that?
I want to be able to.