It’s always great when God replaces something painful with something wonderful. Or when He provides for a need in a context of desperation.
But what about when God takes away something we enjoy—or even something we need? Or when He allows something bad to invade something good?
Can we then say what Job said?
Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised. —Job 1:21
During the times when God takes something away from you, it’s easy to feel duped, as if God was some kind of pusher, giving free samples and then removing them after the cravings have their hooks in your heart.
The Lord’s generosity can be misunderstood as cruelty.
Rather than praise God for the time we enjoyed His blessings—we tend to resent His sovereign prerogative to confiscate them.
Here’s some perspective that can help when God takes something away from you that was a blessing.
Sometimes the most helpful emails are those that get to the bottom line. If you have just started following my blog, you may have missed the top ten posts of 2012.
I have listed them here from number 10 down to number 1.
If Jesus told us He had a criticism for us, we’d pull out our checklist and start down it.
- “Should I go on a mission trip, Lord?”
- “Should I pray more?”
- “Maybe memorize the book of Romans?”
“You just name it, Lord, and I’ll do it!”
I have discovered that slips in our relationship with God never start with the big things. They begin with the basics.
We would never consider waffling in our morality or our theology.
And yet, how often we betray a more basic element.
Life gets fueled on dreams. Without big dreams or a purpose, we wither and die. As Christians, we have more to do than get up, work hard, and come home for a few hours of television . . . only to rise and begin again.
If that’s all we do, we will wake up at age 65 and realize life has amounted to a stack of paychecks and a few laughs.
God wants more for us than that.
How many times have we made what we thought was the best decision—and it turned out to be the worst? Lessons learned from such blunders—if we survive them—we remember and regret all of our lives.
We make knee-jerk decisions that we think will benefit us financially, or relationally, or vocationally, or physically.
Lot failed to ask that question, and he lived with the regret.
But we don’t have to be like him.
I seldom get sick. For some reason, I usually sidestep most maladies, bugs, and viruses.
(Photo: by Elena Elisseeva, via Vivozoom)
But when it does come my turn, sickness makes up for lost time. With a vengeance. I get really sick.
This happened last week. So, while I sat around feeling miserable, I got to thinking.
I discovered four benefits to getting really sick.
Feel like complaining? You’re not alone. At times, we all lean toward the grumbling side of life.
In those moments when I most want to complain, I find myself doubting if God is with me or not.
John the Baptist struggled with his own sermon.
He had preached about the Messiah’s kingdom coming with power and justice. But instead, Jesus’ ministry centered on preaching and on acts of mercy, and John found himself unfairly wasting away in prison near the blistering shores of the Dead Sea.
Gentle Jesus hardly seemed the political Deliverer everyone expected.
(Dead Sea shoreline, the area near where John the Baptist was imprisoned. Photo: By xta11, via Wikimedia Commons)
Unable to reconcile the contradictions and imprisoned in his thoughts, John doubted his own preaching. John sent messengers to ask Jesus, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” (Matthew 11:3).
In other words, the Expected One had certain expectations placed upon Him . . . and Jesus had failed to meet them.
Is Jesus really the only way to heaven? What about other religions?
How can Christianity make such an arrogant claim that it is the only right way to God?
Podcast: Play in new window
This message (from John 14:6; Romans 1-2) examines Christianity’s exclusive claim and the absolute necessity of fulfilling the Great Commission.
Here are the main points of the message: