Have you ever noticed that it is in difficult times that you grow stronger? And that you can have peace even in the midst of difficult circumstances? That’s when you are being stretched. When God is developing your character. One of my favorite stories in church history is that of Horatio G. Spafford, a wealthy lawyer and business man who lived back in the 1800s. Spafford’s story is not the success story, however, that we seek nowadays. In fact, he encountered horrendous tragedies in his life. First, he lost his real estate business in an inferno. Then lost all four Spafford daughters when they were on a ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean when the vessel collided with another ship. As if that was not enough, a son they bore with his wife Anna, 7 years after the ordeal at sea, died of scarlet fever at the age of three years.
When he learnt through a telegram by Anna that their daughters had died, he quickly booked passage across the Atlantic Ocean to be reunited with his grieving wife. At one point, the captain notified him that they were passing the spot where he believed Spafford daughters had died. Horatio Spafford stared solemnly at the rolling waves, and that night he wrote the words of what would become a classic and beloved hymn: “When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, you have taught me say, it is well with my soul.”
Understanding God’s supremacy has become a challenging activity that a number of Christians are facing. Often not some end up addressing the question of “Why do the righteous suffer?” In Colossians chapter 3 Paul prayed that the people would have strength to endure whatever came their way. Many view suffering as penalty for sin and prosperity as a reward for being good, which is neither the case nor an absolute reason. Even Job encountered the same. For him, his greatest trial was not the pain or the loss it was not being able to understand why God allowed him to suffer. Other people in similar situations drag around, wallowing in self-pity, defeated and blaming God. But God allows us to go through every phase of life whether good or bad for he knows that we can handle it. And at times God allows us to go through things to help somebody else. He might put you in an uncomfortable place so you can be the answer to someone’s prayer. For instance, the foundation of any building is critical. It must be deep and solid enough to withstand the building’s weight and other stresses. Our lives are like the building. The quality of each one’s foundation will determine the quality of the whole.
Job is portrayed as a wealthy and upright man who loves God, has a life filled with prestige, possessions and people. He is suddenly assaulted on every side! God had allowed Satan to destroy his flocks, possessions, children and his health (Job 1:12).In spite of all he faced and in the midst of all his suffering, he never gave up on God. He never placed his hope in his experience, his wisdom, his friends or his wealth. He continually focused on God. Job 1:22, “In all this, Job did not sin by blaming God.” Though Satan attempted to drive a wedge between Job and God by getting Job to believe that God’s governance was not just and good, Job courageously accepted what God allowed to happen in his life. He remained firmly committed to him. He learns that when nothing else was left, he had God, and that was enough. In this moment of deep anguish and bitterness, Job spoke honestly to God in prayer and let out his frustrations. He expressed his feelings to God for he understood that it was only him who would help me deal with them without exploding in harsh words, actions and possibly not hurting himself and other people.
Some people’s faith is tied to their circumstances: When the circumstances are good, their faith is up; when the circumstances are adverse their faith is down. They try to get rid of their problems, hoping they will then be happy. Some also think that believing in God protects them from trouble, so when calamity comes, they question God’s goodness and justice. But God wants us to have peace even when things aren’t going our way. He is beyond our comprehension! Through Job’s life we see that faith in God is justified even when our situations look hopeless, when everything is stripped away. God has a plan and a purpose for everything.
We may not be able to see it right now. But God has promised He will not allow anything to come into our lives unless He can ultimately get some good out of it. This means that if our prayers aren’t being answered in the way we want, God must have something better in store. He knows what’s best for us! Consider this: Centre your mind in that place of peace where you can truly say, “All right, Father; not my will but yours.” He wants you to remain at rest, to keep your peace of mind. The good news is that our God is greater than anything that you are facing. Keep pressing forward, trusting God and know that as you believe, all things are possible. Though it may look dark and bleak right now, the scripture says, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” It doesn’t matter what the situation looks like in the natural because the beauty of it all is that our God is a Supernatural God.
One thing you must remember is that testing is different, but the result is often a deeper relationship with God. To be unshakable, faith must be built on the confidence that God’s ultimate purpose will come to pass. Your part is to remain faithful to Him, even when you may not feel like doing it. Like Spafford, life may hand you a permanent mark of pain but it is well with our soul! We hold on to our God, doing it as a sacrifice because we love, trust and are greatly devoted to Him!
- Colossians 3
- Job chapter 1 & 2
- Romans 8:28
- Jeremiah 29:11-14
By BRENDA KAMAU.