When Life Hurts, God Heals
When Bad Things Happen to Good People
Have you gone through a season of disappointment lately, wondering why you've been put in this unfavorable position? It seems so unfair, doesn't it?
Don't become discouraged, because the Lord may not change your circumstances but He can change you so that your circumstances will work for you and not against you.
When bad things happen to good people, it's important to take a proper biblical perspective.When left to our own inclination it's possible to sink into skepticism, which leads to resentment. God forbid we should become broken in mind and spirit.
There is something inside every one of us which longs for life to be fair, to have the good guys win and receive their reward, also at the same time for the bad guys to be soundly defeated. Wouldn't it be nice if we lived in a world where good always defeated evil and the judge delivered perfect justice. All good people want that, don’t we? Where everyone lives happily ever after.
However, that is not the world we are living in yet and realistically life's events seldom turn out the way we think they ought.
I love the Lord, because he heard my voice. He heard my cry for mercy and because he turned his ear towards me, I will call on him as long as I live.
Our response to unfairness is based on a certain perception of how we see life, in other words, our personal perspective. We have two perspectives to choose from, the world's viewpoint or the divine perspective..
Responding to Unfairness
A person who takes the world's position when responding to unfairness might say something like this... "Life is not fair so I'm going to take all I can, anyway I can. Even if I have to lie, cheat and steal." Or, they may cling to the doctrine of stick it to the other guy before he sticks it to me, sort of like a game called "Tag, you're it"!
This world is full of books and counselors who will help you carry out any scheme you desire. You may get even, you might even get temporary satisfaction but you won't have peace.
The other side of the coin in response to unfairness is the divine viewpoint, which is addressed in 1 Peter 3:8-22. This perspective is well stated in verse 12 of this chapter...
"For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayers but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."
You might not be able to take this fact of life to the bank but you can surely count on it's truthfulness, not only is it written by Peter himself, he quotes from Psalm 34.
1 Peter 3, Suffering for Doing Good
Peter starts in chapter 3, verse 8 by saying, "Live in harmony with each other, do not pay evil with evil or insult with insult." Why? Because that is what we are called to do in order to inherit a blessing from the Lord Most High. Is it not good to have the Lord God on your side?
In verse 13, Peter gives a general principle of life, "Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?" Or it might be said, " Who will want to harm you if you do good?" Give no cause or reason for someone to strike back at you.
Even though you live right, life can turn on you. Remember, life is not fair. There will be occasional injustice, 1 Peter 3:14-17 advises us on how we are to respond in order to glorify God Almighty and receive His blessing.
Starting with verse 14... "But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, do not be frightened".
Now, a natural response for a man who is under the old nature would be to somehow get even, possibly through slanderous gossip. Gossip itself is evil, because it's purpose is to expose someone elses weekness or vulnerability. And, if emotions are not kept under control violence will break out.
It's so important to control your negative emotions, these can well up and come spewing out of the mouth in the form of malicious words. A word to the wise, be careful on how you use your tongue, it can be a small flame which starts a consuming fire. The tongue should be used to built someone up, not to tear them down.
So, it is written, "For whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech." 1 Peter 3:10
1 Peter 3: 4 Divine View Points to Consider
Consider yourself blessed by God Almighty
God the Father wants his children to be joyful. Doesn't it make you happy when your children are joyful? Likewise, James 1:2 says, "Consider it pure joy my brothers, when ever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance."
Keep this in mind, there is a reward for enduring trials that you did not deserve.
Look at Matthew 5:11, Jesus said, "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
Do not fear your persecutor's intimidation
The rationale here is that the Lord hears and sees all. His eyes are on your life as a righteous child of his (assuming that Jesus is your Lord and redeemer), his ear is attentive to your prayer and don't ever think that he has missed the evil. He may be long suffering but will never compromise his justice. 1 Peter 3 is aligned with Isaiah 54:17 which says...
"No weapon forged against you will prevail and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage (inheritance) of the servants of the Lord and this is their vindication from me," declares the Lord.
You might wonder, why does he let it go for so long? It may take a lifetime or longer but rest assured, in the end He will serve His justice and make it all work out for the good. If we don't believe this and do not focus on this, we become the loser. To make matters worse, we become a bitter and resentful. Having lost the joy in our hearts.
Life is difficult! It has been since the fall of man in the garden. No doubt, there isn't a person reading these words who doesn't have a reason to become bitter. Maybe, it’s because of the way you have been mistreated by someone or an unfavorable situation at work. Disease or a sudden accident took away your loved one. There are hundreds of reasons.
Acknowledge Christ as Lord over your life
Let Him handle your burden, because God will supply all your needs. Pray and ask for the strength to control your emotions. Christ carried your burden when He went to the cross. Burden is heavy on the heart. It weighs down your joy so cast it out. First part of verse 15... "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord."
People will want to know how you are able to calmly handle this unfavorable situation when you've been done wrong. They'll want to know, because you are handling the situation differently than they would.
This is an opportunity for you to witness, plead a case for Christ. You've earned the right to be heard. "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have." (1 Peter 3:15) Unfortunately, often times, as you do this more slanderous remarks will follow. Some may view you as a push over, meek or unwilling to fight for you right. Take courage, show your character and integrity, because if the Lord is with you, he will preserve you.
Yes indeed, you will receive compensation. Possibly in ways you, nor I cannot imagine, because your Lord is a righteous Lord.
Keep a clear conscience
"Keeping a clear conscience so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." A clear conscience also enables one to stand before the Lord in confidence, so that you may walk before the Lord in the land of the living.
Here, Peter digs below the surface and gets into inner character. He underscores the value of maintaining integrity. Nothing can stand up to trials and tribulation as can solid character and sound integrity.
Peter sums up this principle in verse 17, "It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil." In other words, unjust suffering is always better than deserved punishment.
Trials & Tribulation
You know as well as I do that trials and tribulations are a part of everyone's life. I wish there was a way to avoid them but on the other hand, I think they serve a purpose for the "born again" christian. They bring us closer to Christ and help us to recognize that we need to renew our minds to be inline with His word. It's work in progress our entire life as we grow in the Spirit.
One can look at trials as refinning gold or silver, these presious metals must be put to the fire in order to burn off the impurities. The smelting process refines the metal to a purified state adding value. In a similar way, our Lord refines us by testing our faith through trials of difficulty. But never more than we are able to handle.
Born Again! What does that mean?
Receive Christ Jesus as Lord over your life, read the bible. Do this to renew your mind or change your way of thinking, this is called "born again". One might think... Okay, I'm saved but where is the blessing? Why do life's troubles still haunt me or come back? It goes a bit deeper than that, it's more than religion, it's having a personal relationship with the only living God.
What is religion?
I often think that religion is the devil's veil to keep us from really seeing the truth of the matter. Religion is more tradition than true worship. After all, it was the religious leaders in that day who plotted the death of Jesus. The only religion the Lord finds acceptable is contributing to the needs of widows, orphans and others whom are in severe lack.
Access to God granted through Christ
God only wrote one book (the bible) and He would be pleased to have you read it. He is the only living God and yes, it's possible to have a personal relationship with the Lord of life.
Believe it or not, it is easier and more likely to be granted an audience with the living God of creation than it is to be granted an audience with the President of the United States or the Queen of England.
Speaking of veils, in the old Jewish temple there was a veil which separated the inner court from the "Holy of Holys" (symbolic of God's throne) where the "Ark of the Covent" (symbolic of the convent the Lord make with his people Israel) was kept. The veil was also symbolic, a reminder of man's separation from God. Only once a year and only the high priest could enter the Holy of Holys.
At the moment Christ gave up his Spirit on the cross, the earth quaked and the veil in the temple was torn in two. This meant that now access is granted to the Throne of God to whomever desires it but only through Jesus the Christ. The Holy Spirit is the vessel by which we can enter the presence of the Lord.
Yes, those who come to Christ are saved but it is a process when it comes to receiving the blessings in this natural world, some never do. One has to grow in the Word of God to a point where your mind (soul), thoughts and actions are in agreement with His.
The Lord gave Peter the keys to the kingdom, his advice in 1 Peter 3 is as sound as a rock.
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