No fear – because thou art with me.
“The world is divided into two things—pleasures and afflictions; I am more afraid of the
pleasures than the afflictions. In afflictions you turn to the Lord. The danger is of being carried away by the very favors God has given to man.” – Miles Stanford. To which I say; when we have the former, we fear the latter because we are more interested in this physical life than our spiritual being. Yet when you have the latter, you actively seek the Lord like King David said, “Until I was afflicted, my heart went astray.” Why do we always wait until we are hurting to run to him? Afflictions therefore are our friend as they lead us back to the source of this life with its pleasures. We fear afflictions only because we don’t know the source of life and happiness, who is – Jesus.
2 Cor 1 1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God in Corinth, together with all the saints throughout Achaia: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The God of All Comfort
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
As we ponder God’s character from the above passage, I wonder if God would answer our signature question below in the following way…
Who are you Lord?
I AM the God who gives you abundant life. I give the sun and the rain. I made you to be dependent upon my grace and mercy but I will not be taken for granted. When I see that you live solely for this life over me, be warned. I Am a Jealous God. If you don’t feel like you need me, then I will allow you to experience what your desires lead you to.
I AM the God who is hated by this world. If you follow me, you will experience persecution. All who want to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. The God of this world hates you and tempts you to reject me just like he did to Job in the past.
I AM the God of all comfort, and the Father of Compassion. Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and you will find rest for your souls. I AM the God of peace, mercy and grace. I do not wish to remove you from the hardships of the world, but rather to be with you through every hardship. This life is about the trial of your faith. Without trials, faith is meaningless. Faith rests in the comfort of God in the trials and will be rewarded accordingly one day.
Peace supersedes understanding
“The Christian suffers the same calamities as others, perhaps even worse; he faces difficulties and losses in the things of this life; he has to be prepared to meet death itself. In all these circumstances he is calm and trustful; he is not only sure of ultimately going to heaven, but already abides there and enjoys something of it in his own heart.”
“God is real to him and ever near. He knows a peace which passes all understanding, and he experiences a joy which no man can take from him. This, surely, should be our testimony in the world, but it can only be as the Lord Jesus Himself lives out this life in us.” -H.F. from Miles Stanford. And I say, outside of the stated will of God in the Bible, we may never know the reasons as to all of our “why” questions this side of eternity. But this verse says that He gives a peace which supersedes, surpasses, makes superfluous that need to understand. We may want reasons. But we don’t need them. Children may not like it when their parents withhold something, but confidence in the parent’s love is what really matters. Those who never knew that confidence in their human parent struggle with this concept, but the correlation to God is sound. Knowing that God has our best interest for future glory with him in mind is what allows for surrender and consequent joy when we accept that fact. Even it is said of the Christ “but for the joy set before him endured the cross and scorned its shame.”
Trials are required for faith to be real
When life’s joys are our god (what we live for), then fear of loss rules our lives, and we will do anything we can to protect ourselves accordingly. However, when God is our God, the pains of this life don’t matter and we can live life for others even at great cost to ourselves.
More to come,