Saturday, July 9, 2016
A “season of suffering” can catch you by surprise or catch you totally off guard. Yet “…[God]… does whatever pleases him” (Psalms 115:3 NIV).God allows or permits trials and tribulations as he pleases and he can do it “without cause.” “…although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause…” (Job 2:3 KJV). In other words, there may be no earthly reason for your “season of suffering.”
However, God “…[is]…GOOD and doest GOOD…” (Psalm 119:68 KJV). “…all things work together for GOOD to them that LOVE GOD, to them who are THE CALLED to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 KJV). It is Satan who “…[intends] …to harm [you]…, but God [intends]… it for good…” Genesis 50:20 NIV).
We are to learn and be admonished from reading and studying the book of Job. “…For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4 KJV).
“Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” (1 Corinthians 10:11 KJV).
Whatever comes into your life or whatever happens, “…the plans [God has]…for you….[are]… plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV). “…the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: ….After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons and his sons’ sons, even four generations. So Job died, being old, and FULL of days...” (Job 42:12-17 KJV).
God took Israel through a “season of suffering” for forty years to humble them, to test them, and to see “…whether [they]… wouldest keep his commandments, or not…” (Deuteronomy 8:2 KJV).
Forty years seems like a long time, but they refused to TRUST God. When you are going through a LONG or SHORT, “season of suffering,” trust in God continually and not the circumstances. “…The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt (disrespect)? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them?” (Daniel 14:11 NIV).
God forgave them numerous times, but eventually he decided, “… not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times— not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it…”(Daniel 14:22-23 NIV).
During some LONG “seasons of suffering” (not all) it is disobedience and MISTRUST of God that keeps you there. “For forty years—one year for each of the forty days you explored the land—you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.’ I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will surely do these things to this whole wicked community, which has banded together against me. They will meet their end in this wilderness; here they will die…” (Number 14:34-25 NIV).
God gave them what they asked for instead of what he wanted to ultimately bless them with. “…So tell them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Lord, I will do to you the very thing I heard you say: In this wilderness your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me…”(Numbers 14:26-29 NIV).
Many of us go through “seasons of suffering” and will NEVER make it through because of MISTRUST. “…The children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children…” (Exodus 12:37 NIV).
Out of 600,000 people, only Joshua and Caleb remained faithful, obedient, and TRUSTING. “…Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun…”(Number 14:30 NIV).
God guarantees his people victory for “seasons of suffering and promises, “…all things [will]…work together for GOOD to them that LOVE GOD, to them who are THE CALLED to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 KJV).
The victory is already won. “…In this [fallen] world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer, [God has]… OVERCOME the world…” (John 16:33 KJV). It is unfortunate that so many believers, during a “season of suffering,” will begin to walk by sight and not by faith. “….without faith it is impossible to please God…” (Hebrews 11:6 KJV). Therefore, “…walk by faith...” (2 Corinthians 5:7 KJV).
The failure to TRUST God during a “season of suffering” is detrimental and will not turn out for the good or as victoriously as God intended for it to turn out. Therefore, “…walk by faith...” (2 Corinthians 5:7 KJV). “….without faith it is impossible to please God…” (Hebrews 11:6 KJV).
God was displeased with Israel’s mistrust and he hasn’t changed about that. “….without faith it is impossible to please God…” (Hebrews 11:6 KJV). “…I am the Lord, I change NOT…” (Malachi 3:6 KJV). “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13 :8 NIV).
Trusting God brings on a restful peace. “......He that is entered into his rest has himself, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his rested from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief (as Israel)…” (Hebrews 4:10-11 KJV).
The “seasons of suffering” we go through for hours, days, weeks, months, or years are the trials and tribulations God uses to encourage TRUST. The greatest enemy of TRUST is PRIDE.
“Seasons of suffering” will expose whether you will trust God or not. Job lost everything and the Hebrew boys went through the fire, but they continued to trust God.
MISTRUST led “…the Lord [to say]…to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt (disrespect)? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them?” (Daniel 14:11 NIV).
“…Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God’s friend…” (James 2:18-24 NIV). Therefore, “…walk by faith...” (2 Corinthians 5:7 KJV). Because, “….without faith it is impossible to please God…” (Hebrews 11:6 KJV). “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6 KJV). “…This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom he hath sent.” (John 6:28-29 KJV).
TRUST MOVES GOD AND MOUNTAINS, NO MATTER HOW LONG THEY HAVE BEEN THERE. “Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you…” (Matthew 17:19-20 NIV).
THE LACK OF TRUST MOVES NOTHING AND DEFINITELY NOT GOD. “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do” (James 1:6-8 NIV).
As believers, the most major work we have is to TRUST or believe on Jesus, the living Word of God. “…This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom he hath sent.” (John 6:28-29 KJV).
Therefore, “...In the day of prosperity [TRUST GOD and]… be happy, But in the day of adversity [TRUST GOD and] consider-- God has made the one as well as the other…” (Ecclesiastes 7:14 NASB). “…Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6 KJV).
A “season of suffering” is not an excuse to doubt God, but too many of God’s people do, just like the Israelites in the wilderness. Mistrust is about YOU and your ability. TRUST is about God and his ability.Mistrust is about 1). self
-reliance: “Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5 NIV). 2). Trusting in self: “Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe” (Proverbs 28:26 NIV).
3). Refusal to surrender: “…You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life….”(Mark 5:39-40 NASB). 4).Lack of bible study: “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8 NIV). “…My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” (Hosea 4:6 NIV).
5).Ongoing sin: “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2 NIV). 6). Disobedience: “…you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have [God]… against you …” (Number 14:34-25 NIV). “….If God is for us, who [or what]... can be against us?” (Romans 8:31 NIV).
7). Lack of prayer: “…Pray without ceasing…:(1 Thessalonians 5:17 NIV).“…Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints…” (Ephesians 6:18 KJV). 8). “…Worry: “…herefore I tell you, do not worry about your life … Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:25-27 NIV).
9). Fear: “Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:38-40 NIV).
10). Doubt: “…But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do” (James 1:6-8 NIV).
11). Bashing God’s character: “And the people spake against God…’(Number 21:1 NIV).“Yea, they spake against God...” (Psalms 78:19 KJV).
When you put your TRUST in God he will “… instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: [He]… will guide thee with [his[… eye…” (Psalms 32:8 KJV). “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way” (Psalms 37:23 KJV).
In a “season of suffering” it is easy to get off track in our TRUST in God. We can stop TRUSTING God and starting trusting ourselves, even while doing righteous acts. During my LONG “season of suffering” I prayed, went to church, was faithful, loyal, acted like a martyr, showed grace, mercy, and was forgiving.
Further, when my “season of suffering” didn’t end when I thought it would, I gave up. I was tired. I was tired because all my righteous behaviors didn’t end my “season of suffering” when I expected it to. However, I have since learned I had more trust in my righteous acts to give me the victory than God’s miraculous power.
The victory comes not simply from what YOU DO, but from what you BELIEVE about what you do. “…Abraham believed God …his faith and his actions were working together …” (James 2:18-24 NIV).
The PROOF OF TRUST is not just from what YOU DO, but also from what you BELIEVE about what you do. "Jesus … said…This is the work of God: that ye believe on him [not self] whom he hath sent.” (John 6:29 KJV).
“…Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone” (James 2:18-24 NIV).
Obedience is the transformation process “in action” - “…the work of God…” but faith is the MOTIVATION for the action “…that ye believe on him [not self]…” Obedience is about TRUST.
“…[Abraham’s]… faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God …” (James 2:18-24 NIV).
God told Abraham to do something, he trusted God, and did what he was told to do. Abraham’s actions were the “work of God and he “believed (trusted) on him,” which motivated him to do it. “…You see that his faith and his actions were working together, [and thus]…‘Abraham believed God, …” (James 2:18-24 NIV).
Remember, a key to TRANSFORMING SUFFERING is that, “…[Jesus]… was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed (Isaiah 53:5 NLT). Jesus suffers with us. Jesus enables us to go through suffering. Jesus absorbs our suffering. Jesus already suffered for us when he took our suffering upon himself on the cross! However, we must TRUST in that truth.
When you TRUST in what Christ has done, then, “…[You] can do “all things” through Christ which strengtheneth [you]....” (Philippians 4:13 KJV). In addition, God has “… [made] known… [to you]...the riches of the glory … which is Christ in you…” (Colossians 1:27 KJV).
Therefore, when going through “seasons of suffering” TRUST that “...Christ … suffered for [you already]…” (1 Peter 2:21 KJV). “…Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57 KJV). “…Thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place” (2 Corinthians 2:14 KJV). “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4 KJV).
“…although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause” (Job 2:3 KJV). Although, it may seem, during your “season of suffering” that God has permitted or allowed Satan to destroy your life “without cause” TRUST GOD ANYWAY. So, when you suffer, totally and completely, “…[entrust yourself]…to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:19-23 NIV).
Dr. Pensacola H. Jefferson