Tag Archives: suffering

In His Time

There’s a lovely little chorus my children used to sing when they were little. It’s called “In His Time.”

In his time, in his time
He makes all things beautiful
In his time

Lord please show me everyday
As you’re teaching me your way
That you do just what you say
In your time

Sometimes we can’t understand God’s perspective on time. I’ve been reading the story of Joseph in Genesis 37 and 39 again.

Joseph was a teenager, somewhat cocky and arrogant as many teenage boys are. His brothers hated him. So much so, that, when the opportunity arose, most of them would have killed him. The oldest brother intervened, persuading them not to shed their brother’s blood but rather to throw him down a well. He intended to rescue him later but in the interim the other brothers sold Joseph to slave traders on their way to Egypt.

Joseph found himself in a terrible situation not through any actions of his own. He was a slave in a foreign country. He couldn’t speak the language. He trusted in God and prayed to Him, no doubt begging to be returned to his father. God didn’t answer that prayer. But He was with Joseph in his situation. “When his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes. “ (Genesis 39:3-4a NIV)

Joseph was unjustly accused. Again an innocent person suffered because of the sin of others. Joseph ended up in the king’s prison. He must have wondered why God had allowed such an unjust thing to happen to him. Yet again the Lord was with Joseph and everything he did was successful. but he was still not free. He was still in a foreign land.

Joseph was thirty before things finally changed for him. ten years of the prime of his life were wasted. Or were they?

When Joseph finally appeared before Pharaoh, there was no trace of the arrogant youth. Joseph was humble, yet confident in God. God had used the years that seemed wasted to mould Joseph’s character. In the ten years, Joseph had also learned to speak Egyptian, a skill he needed both to communicate with Pharaoh and to fulfill his role as overseer of all Egypt. God couldn’t have used Joseph as he was when he first arrived in Egypt. God’s plan needed time.

So often we find ourselves in a situation where God doesn’t answer our prayers. We can’t understand why He has allowed us to suffer. We pray and we pray. We feel God has abandoned us, we doubt His love.

God uses the unjust, the unfair, the unfortunate trials of our lives to fit us for His future plans. He promised never to leave us nor forsake us and He honours that promise. He is with us when we struggle, when we don’t understand, when things seem to go from bad to worse. Joseph was able to say to his brothers, “What you intended for evil, God intended for good.”

God makes all things beautiful in His time. That is the point. It takes time and we should not waste the pain.

My Prayer

Lord, I am limited by my perception of time. I can’t understand why You don’t bring healing when I’ve been praying for years. Like the Psalmist I want to ask, “How long, Lord, how long?” Even though I don’t understand Your ways and Your times, please give me eyes to see Your presence with me even when there seems no relief in sight. Amen.

Preparing a Place

JusJoJan 30 January 2022

When I heard I was pregnant for the first time, I went straight from the doctor’s room to a department store and bought a tiny babygro and a pair of booties. We were so excited! My mother fished out her knitting needles and bought soft pastel wool. As time went by, we started preparing a nursery. There is so much equipment that a baby needs! We prepared the room with happiness and excitement. We even bought a fluffy star that had a recording of a mother’s heart beat to make the baby feel at home and secure.

Image by Pixabay

My friends at that time were in a similar stage of life and reacted in the same way to the news of their pregnancy. Only the best for Their child!

Jesus said, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John14:3 NIV)

With as much excitement and anticipation as parents prepare a place for their expected baby, Jesus prepares a place for us. He knows what will comfort us, make us happy and make us feel welcome in our new home. Only the best will do for His child!

While parents are happily preparing a nursery for their baby, God is at work behind the scenes preparing the baby for his new home. The lungs need to be developed enough to be able to breathe this strange atmosphere. The baby needs to develop to readiness for birth.

In the same way, God is working with us to prepare us for heaven. As a line from that famous Christmas Carol, “Away in a manger,” says, …”and fit us for heaven to live with Thee there.”

The trials and tests we face are all part of the preparation. Paul says about suffering, “…we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5: 3b-5 NIV)

It’s not only suffering as we understand it, but disappointments, irritations, rejection, set-backs, dealing with persistent health issues or struggles, that grow our perseverance, character and hope.

God is the One who does the preparing. We can be sure that “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6 NIV)

My Prayer

Lord Jesus, it is comforting to know that You are preparing a place in heaven for me and You will welcome me one day. May I have Your point of view to be able to regard suffering and trials as part of Your loving preparation. I’m not there yet. Amen.

Words to Remember

Last night our fellowship group got together to remember Pat King, our beloved friend and hostess. She died within days of receiving the diagnosis of Myeloid Leukemia. Somebody read the words she had given to each of us at our last physical meeting before lockdown. They will be her permanent message to us.

Lord – I believe

Lord God – I believe that you love me and that you made me for a purpose.

Lord – I believe that I shall not die a moment sooner or later than you decree.

Lord – I believe I shall suffer neither more nor less than you decide.

Lord – I believe that I shall complete the work that you have planned for me to do on earth.

Lord Jesus, as you died and rose from death, so I believe that I too shall rise from death.

Lord – I believe that in that resurrection I shall see and understand all that is hidden from me now.

Lord – I believe that because of this resurrection, new life springs out from every kind of death.

Lord – I believe that all my dear ones in the same way, are safe in your capable and moulding hands.

Therefore Lord – I believe that all anxiety is sin and I renounce it as unnecessary, wasteful and hurtful.

And Lord – I commit myself to you with all my heart to be set free to live and love and serve your children.

Memorial service leaflet

Mosquito bites and lightning strikes.

sdr

The gazebo in our garden is a lovely, cool place to have a quiet time in the mornings. The only problem is the mosquitoes. I spray myself when I remember and light a citronella candle, but very often I become aware of two or three itchy bites at breakfast time. They are very, very annoying and I know the more I scratch them, the itchier they become, but I can’t help it.

With my mind and experience I know that by the next day the itch will be gone and even the red bump will have faded. However, that doesn’t help the present discomfort.

Paul says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Rom 8:18 NIV)

I would like to rephrase it. Our present problems are like mosquito bites compared to the wonderful things God has in store for us.

Problems come every day. No sooner do we overcome one problem than another is ready to take its place. Most of these are not of our doing but are very stressful all the same.

I live in an area of South Africa where lightning storms are frequent and violent. A friend’s house was struck by lightning last week. It frizzled her gate motor, security cameras, all her UPS backups and all the light bulbs. Even after the electrician had called and replaced all the lights, the power seemed to weaken and strengthen in unpredictable waves. She was stressed and distracted and, even though she knew with her mind that things would eventually be back to normal, she felt downhearted and overwhelmed.

Image by FelixMittermeier from Pixabay

Some problems don’t seem to have an end in sight. However, we are promised that “…in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28 NIV)

We might not see the promised good this side of the grave but we trust that God’s Word is true and reliable. There will come a time when we will look back and regard our troubles as no more than annoying mosquito bites, forgotten in the Glory of God.