Tag Archive: pain and suffering


In the introduction to this series we discussed briefly the different types of suffering that a believer will experience over the course of their life here on earth. We understand as believers that suffering, at whatever stage and in whatever capacity we meet it, is a tool designed by God as a directive catalyst toward spiritual maturity.

As we move through this study we will gain valuable insight on exactly how God uses suffering to train, correct, strengthen, and even protect His people. When this study was first introduced to me in its original form some years ago, it changed my perspective on how I view and received adversity in my life. This is extremely important in the process of moving along the continuum towards spiritual maturity.

As we move deeper into this study you will be faced with a multiplicity of scripture. The reason for this is that a life void of scripture is a life void of power. It is the primary priority of every believer to engage in the consistent daily study, intake, digestion, metabolism, and inculcation of Bible doctrine. One of the greatest deficiencies of the modern believer is sound doctrine, resident in their souls. We tend to lean too much toward emotionalism, which has no foundation to support us when we are bearing the burdens of conflict and suffering.

Some of the core concepts in this lesson were originally presented by the late R.B. Thieme Jr., someone I have always respected as a Bible teacher and expositor. Over time, I have revisited these concepts multitudinous times and I have developed a deeper understanding and the concepts have broadened. It is not important who gets credit for this, because God is the author.

Suffering has multiple purposes and these purposes can best be understood in relation to the believer’s spiritual growth or progression towards spiritual maturity. Basically there are five categories of Christian suffering. The first two are primarily associated with spiritual childhood (the stages of spirituality that range from spiritual infancy through spiritual adolescence. These two categories are designed as punitive measures by God. The last three are associated with spiritual adulthood and are designed for the sake of providing blessings for the believer.

It is important to understand that although these categories of suffering are associated with certain stages of spiritual advancement, they can be experienced by any believer at any time. For instance, a spiritually mature believer can find themselves in a state of carnality and suffering as a means of punitive (punishment) and correction; while an immature believer can find themselves suffering for blessing through making good choices.

This study series is designed to examine the multiplicity of problems that believers encounter in the way of suffering and the divine solutions available to them in any stage of suffering. Suffering has purpose and the answer to dealing with suffering is extensively delineated through scripture. We will learn how to engage our struggles without becoming emotional, frenetic, unglued or defeated.

The five categories of Christian suffering are as follows:

Punitive

  1. Self-Induced Misery – the consequences of poor decisions.
  2. Divine Discipline – the move of God to correct poor decisions and wrong actions

For Blessing

  1. Providential Preventive Suffering – Pressure applied by God to prevent you from making the wrong decision or doing the wrong thing (Paul’s Thorn in The Flesh, 2 Cor. 12:7-9)
  2. Momentum Testing – Suffering used as a barometer to gauge the believers progression and impetus towards spiritual maturity
  3. Evidence Testing – Suffering used as evidence of a believer’s maturity and God’s sovereignty

All suffering, in some way is designed by God for the purpose blessing; the circumstances that surround the suffering will provide the clarity that reveals the purpose. The important thing is for every believer to have doctrinal orientation so that they might be able to understand the spiritual implication of the physical manifestations that are contributing to their suffering.

One of the primary problems with a vast majority of Christians is that they use emotion as a barometer and catalyst to move them through their daily encounters. God designed emotions to be a responsive mechanism not the catalyst for problem solving the issues of life. We are to have Bible doctrine inculcated deeply into our heart (the right lobe of the soul) in which a foundation is developed on which the believer can learn to apply the doctrine that they have learned to the circumstances that they encounter.

Suffering functions as a guardian for the adult believer in the same way that a parent functions with as a guardian for a child. Basically the restraints that are used and put in place for children are replaced and enforced by suffering. The dynamic of suffering serves to deplete us of our own resources and it forces us to lean and depend on God for our daily provision. Suffering makes us more pliable for the hands of the Potter.

In the same way that parents are more than disciplining agents for their children, suffering is not simply God’s way of disciplining us. Suffering is a great instructor as it demands your attention. As we are forced to use the provisions of our God, our appreciation and love for Him is strengthened and we become more in tune with His will for our lives.

As we move through this study series we continue to develop a new perspective of suffering as we dismiss both, the proclivity for asceticism and the victim complex. We will learn that when properly engaged, suffering will always catapult us toward our divine destiny.

Contrary to popular beliefs among many believers, suffering is not something to be sought out, there is no intrinsic value in suffering itself. The value is in taking the lesson and the purpose involved in the suffering and maximizing its potential. Suffering should never be a perpetual force in the life of a believer. If it is, there are other elements that must be addressed.

In the same sense, believers are not to take on a victim mentality when faced with suffering and adversity. They should engage it with faith and certainty that a sovereign and omniscient God is in complete control. When the believer uses all of the Divine assets at their disposal, there are no circumstance that can negatively impact their peace and state of happiness. ~ Dr. Rick Wallace

 

“Christianity is not a religion of  suffering. Bible doctrine explains suffering, and metabolized , applied doctrine alleviates suffering in the soul. There is no asceticism in the protocol plan of God. Despite false teaching to the contrary, suffering for its own sake is not a legitimate Christian objective.

 

 

 

Tragically, many Christians never learn the doctrine of suffering. To their way of thinking, Adversity creates an aura of spirituality. Presumptuously claiming to follow Christ in His sufferings, they attach importance to their own pain as if it brought them closer to God. They distort their lives to fit a crippling false doctrine. They assume God honors self-sacrifice and commands them to suffer. This malignant idea breeds arrogance, destroys capacity for life, and blasphemes the character of God.” (R.B. Thieme Jr.)

 

 

 

Dr. Rick Wallace

 

 

One of the most crippling forces in this ethereal journey of Christianity is asceticism. When the Christian believer does not understand suffering as it relates to God’s divine plan, they erroneously apply value to being in a state of suffering. Too many believers have adapting suffering as their lot in life. They fail to realize God’s purpose in it for them, so they miss the chance to advance. God has no desire for you to be miserable, but He will use whatever means is necessary to insure your success in fulfilling your designed purpose. Paul endured suffering to insure that he would not be destroyed by his own arrogance (2 Cor. 12:7-9)

 

 

 

Suffering always has a purpose, whether for correction, protection, testing, or blessing. It is not God’s desire to destroy your happiness, but to provide you with the resources and assets that will solidify your happiness irregardless of your circumstances. Inner happiness is not circumstantial, it is based on the immutability of God and your position in His royal family. ~ Dr. Rick Wallace

 

 

This article serves as the preamble to my upcoming series on Christian suffering. There has been so much written and spoken concerning suffering. There are those that believe that suffering is an indication of some existing sin in the life of the one suffering. Job’s three friends took this line of rationale as they attempted to counsel Job in the midst of his pain. There are those that believe that suffering is the Christian’s lot in life and that it somehow signifies the validity of the believer’s faith.

The truth is that suffering does have purpose in the life of the believer. In fact, there are different types of suffering. There is punitive suffering which is punishment for sin and waywardness in association to God’s plan. We see this quite often in the Bible as Israel (God’s client nation) moves contrary to his will.

There is self induced misery; this is the situation when believers and non-believers alike generate anguish within their own souls as well as the overt conditions and circumstance they create around them. Because God designed the human to have volitional freedom, coupled with a sin nature (contracted at the fall of humanity), it is inevitable that man will make decisions that negatively impact their lives. There is a divine law of volitional responsibility which indicates that as a believer exercises their volitional freedom they are directly responsible for the consequences. This keeps us from taking the stance that we are being unjustly punished by God for executing the very freedom he gave. We do have the freedom of choice, but it comes at a price.

There is collective suffering. This is when an entire group suffers because the collective failed as a whole. A good example of this would be when the Israelites tarried for forty years in the wilderness because the majority believed the negative report of the 10 spies and ignored the positive report and vote of confidence from Joshua and Caleb. Not only did the whiners and unfaithful have to languish in the wilderness, so did Joshua and Caleb. Those two did not die with the rest, but they had to suffer through 40 years of delay because of someone else.

There is suffering for blessing, which is a broad topic. In this study, suffering for blessing is assigned to the believer that has steadied himself and positioned himself in the will of God and continues to execute the protocol plan of God. Even someone who was initially suffering as a punitive measure can move from punitive suffering to suffering for blessing. What this means is that the moment a believer realizes that he has sinned and that his sin has resulting in some form of suffering, he has the opportunity to repent and move toward God. If he does this, the suffering may very well continue, it may even intensify, but it is no longer for the sake of punishment, it is now for the sake blessing.

Suffering is a great teacher. It has the exceptional power to conquer ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) of the spirit. God knows how to get the attention of His creation.

There is providential preventative suffering designed by God to keep the believer from moving off course. A good example of this would be Paul’s thorn in the flesh. Paul tells us the thorn was given to him so that he would not become exalted within himself (arrogant and filled with pride [big headed]). The thorn in the flesh was a constant reminder to Paul that God was his source of power and that in and of himself, he was feeble and week.

Suffering comes as a test. You see, adversity is an unbelievable barometer to test the authenticity of one’s faith and their true commitment to God’s plan. I was once posed the following question: Can God trust you with trouble? Could God give the testimony he gave for Job concerning you?

In this study we will explore the importance of doctrinal thinking in the midst of heartache and struggles. So often, Christians take on a victim’s mentality and totally miss the opportunity to advance. There is no greater platform of advancement than suffering. Allow me to elucidate the previous statement. This does not mean that the Christian should look to live in a perpetual state of suffering. The true Christian’s life is characterized by victory and triumph. There will always be resistance and the enemy will always be present, but we are more than conquers (Rom. 8:37). What this means is that when you find yourself in the midst of the storm, you don’t crumble, you don’t cower, you don’t acquiesce to the pressure, you don’t point the finger of blame, you don’t whine and complain. What you do is gird up yourself with faith in your God and His purpose for your life. You allow God to use the storm to elevate you. Ask Joseph and he will tell you that a 13 year storm elevated him to the second highest position in all of the land of Egypt. Ask Job and he will tell you that a whirlwind entered his life, but it resulted in an undying legacy of faith and perseverance.

Actually suffering can be broken down into five major categories and we will become acquainted with them. We will learn how position ourselves in the storm. Remember, God is sovereign and nothing happens without Him allowing it, and if God allows it then it has a positive purpose in your life. So prepare to engage this study with an intensity that will help you grow closer to Christ as you grow thereby in the knowledge and grace of our Savior (2 Pet. 3:18) ~ Dr. Rick Wallace

You are invited to visit me at my Christian Impact site as well!

One of the questions that finds its way to me from believers seeking guidance more incessantly than all others is: How do I get past the pain? Within this one question lies many others: How do I move on? How do I forgive? What did I do to deserve this? Where is God when it hurts?

One of the most difficult things to do is recognize the hand of God moving in the midst of your pain. The pain of heartbreak and loss can be crippling, paralyzing, and even blinding. Pain has the power to stop you dead in the middle of your tracks and it has the weight to buckle your knees. Being a person intimately acquainted with pain, I can easily empathize with those that are engaging the enigmatic conundrum of pain. One of the most insightful books I have ever read on pain was a book entitled: :Where is God When it Hurts? ~ by author Phillip Yancy. In addressing this topic I thought it would be appropriate to borrow that title.

As I stated earlier, the ability to sense the presence of God in your circumstances can be stifled by the excruciating force of pain. The loss of a loved one, betrayal or abandonment by a loved one, and many other painful experience can squeeze you so tight that the very breath that sustains you seems to leave your body. It takes all that you have within you to rise each day and face the uncertainties of what was once a very simple and sequacious life. The question arises: Where is God in all of this? When the pain won’t subside and the malevolent force of its merciless cruelty, will not allow you to seek refuge from its pernicious assault, what do you do? When you look for a moment to simply recompose yourself, but the deafening sounds of the cries of your soul will not allow you to rest, how do you maintain? When every breath that you take seems to collapse your chest with wreathing pain, where do you turn? When it seems that God has abandoned you to the chaos of the moment, what is left?

I would simply like to make one point. God has never and will never leave you. It may be dark right now, but Solomon said that God dwells in the darkness. God knows all that you are going through right now. He is perfectly cognizant of the depth of your pain and the severity of your struggle. One day, you will be able to say, like King David, “If it had not been for the Lord, who was on my side, I would have been destroyed.”

My friend, you are not alone. Pain is a part of the process and though it is uncomfortable, it is profitable. Your pain is developing character within you that cannot be obtained through any alternative measure. It is building a resolve of faithfulness and commitment to the cause of the kingdom. Your pain is revealing those in your life whom you can trust, and those whom you can’t. Pain has a way of thinning the air of all of the impostors in your life masquerading as friends. Pain frightens the inauthentic people in your life. It makes them uncomfortable and drives them into the distance. It is disappointing, but very necessary that they leave. They were a distraction and hindrance to your growth and advancement.

Pain draws you nearer to God as you yearn and seek his presence. The most awesome thing to me about being a Christian is the uniqueness of the relationship between the Savior and the saved. You see, only in this faith can the believer say that their Lord has shared in their pain. You may say what you will about God being indifferent to the pain of His people, but what other God can boast that he has literally come down as a man and experienced the same pain? So, when you are going through, know that there is nothing that you are experiencing that our Savior has not already experienced before you. You are not alone. In fact, Christ wants to carry that pain for you. Give it to Him. Dealing with pain is never easy, but with God all things are possible. You are a child of the King. Lift your hands and give God praise, for He will soon reveal the great things that your pain has produced. ~ (Bishop) Dr. Rick Wallace

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20 Then Job arose and (Z)tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 He said,

(AA)Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked I shall return there.
The (AB)Lordgave and theLord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:20-22, NASB)

22 (AC)Through all this Job did not sin nor did he [m]blame God.

As I sit here preparing for my sister’s funeral I am reminded of a sermon preached at the funeral of another close relative. The preacher was also a relative and he also drew his topic from the above text. The topic was posed as a Question: Can God Trust You With Trouble? Out of all of the multitudinous sermons I’ve heard and preached, this one resonates through my soul fluently and incessantly. What I have learned is my faith is not substantiated by the fruit of my conquered moments. It is not justified by the bounty I have accumulated. My faith is validated and confirmed in the midst of trials and adversity. So today I pose the same question to you: Can God trust you with trouble?

When we look at Job in the whole of this passage we see a man that has lived his life in a way that was pleasing to God. In fact, God gives Job one of the most stellar reviews of anyone in the Bible. Let’s look at how God describes Job in chapter 1.

And the Lord said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who [reverently] fears God and abstains from and shuns evil [because it is wrong]? (Job 1:8, AMP)

God uses words like blameless and upright to describe Job. I want you to take notice of something extremely relevant to the apprehension of this message in full. At the very same time that God is giving Job this sparkling pure review, He is volunteering him for the spiritual and physical hail storm of the ages. “Have you considered my servant Job…” God is saying to Satan if you are looking for someone to test, I volunteer Job. Understand this; if God volunteers you, you are definitely prepared for the moment.

Why would God offer up His best to endure the worst? I will tell you why. In the legal world whenever there is a testimony given the opposition has the right to cross examine. In other words, the testimony is not allowed to simply stand on its merits, it must hold up under cross examination. The same is true with the Christian life. When you make your proclamation of faith you must understand that at some point your testimony will be cross examined by the vicissitudes of life. No matter how tight you walk the line. No matter how often you pray. Irregardless to the depth of your scriptural knowledge, you are going to have to endure the cross examination of the enemy.

For all of Job’s loyalty he reaped disaster. For all of His righteous living he encountered darkness. For every passionate prayer he prayed he was met with news of death and loss. As we move through the book of Job we learn that he did not understand his heartache. He could not lay a finger on its source; however, the one thing he knew is that he had not done anything to deserve it. Wait, maybe he did. When you live within the will of God and walk in your purpose, you put yourself dead in the crosshairs of the enemy. When you make your proclamation of for God I live and for God I die, you become public enemy #1.

The scriptures tell us that in all of this, Job did not sin. Not only did Job refrain from sinning, but he found a way to praise God in the midst of his pain. When I think about this, that same question keeps ringing in the back of my mind: Can God trust you with trouble? When all of the eloquent words in the world can’t rescue you, and the unadulterated force of the enemy is leveled against you and your loved ones, will God be able to trust you with that pain?

When you can’t pray away the loneliness, will you still praise? When you can’t speak away the darkness will you still show gratitude? When in return for your love your friends become your accusers, will you still proclaim the greatness of God? Oh, it’s easy to shout his praise when all is well in your life, but when the phone rings only to bear more bad news, can you still sing of his worth?

Your legacy will be established through the way you engage your trials. Your greatness will be unveiled as you press inexorably toward your mark. Will your story reveal your valor or that you simply folded under the pressure? God wants to trust you with trouble, can he?

Be blessed,

Bishop Rick Wallace

Christian Impact

Choose Joy

April 12, 2012
Choose Joy
Mary Southerland
Today’s Truth
James 1:2-3 Whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow (NLT).
Friend to Friend
When golf balls were first manufactured, their covers were smooth. Golfers soon discovered that after the balls had been roughed up a bit, they were able to get more distance out of them. Manufacturers then began producing golf balls with dimpled covers.
Life is a lot like that. It takes some rough spots to make us go our farthest. It takes some storms to teach us that God is faithful and will provide the strength to stand firm.
The Apostle Paul knew all about storms. As a fully devoted follower of Christ, Paul was despised, slandered, mistreated, abused and poor. He had every right to be angry and distressed but instead chose joy. “We own nothing, and yet we have everything” (2 Corinthians 6:8-10 NLT).
I never fully understood the amazing truth behind Paul’s words because I had never really lived their truth – until 1995 – when I found myself sitting at the bottom of a deep, dark pit. Clinical depression, the psychologist called it. The name was irrelevant to me. All I knew was that it was the most hellish place I had ever been and I had absolutely no idea how to escape. I was paralyzed and totally helpless – the perfect setting for a miracle. Sitting at the feet of Jesus, stripped of my human efforts and impotent plans, I discovered the life changing truth that He did not come to eliminate the storms in my life. No – He came to fill those storms with His presence. I was not delivered from that pit until I was delivered in that pit.
Because joy is a deeply-rooted confidence that God is in control, it only stands to reason that the highest joy will come through the greatest pain. The greater the pain, the more we are forced to search for and cling to the hand of God. But that only happens when we choose the right attitude toward pain.
James 1:2-3 Whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. (NLT)
When was the last time you threw a party to celebrate the trials and storms in life? God’s ways are higher than our ways and most human reactions are in direct opposition to the paradoxical ways of God. Honestly, there are times when what He has asked me to do simply does not make sense – to me. And there we find the problem. Faith is a matter of blind obedience, not human logic.
At the heart of every storm is victory – waiting to be claimed. The words of James offer the perfect backdrop for every life storm.
My son, Jered, was a beautiful baby. One Easter I took him to Sears for their “Get a million pictures for $2.99” deal. Expecting the studio to be crowed, I was met by one bored photographer thrilled to see his first customers. Jered always loved having his picture made and put on quite a show. After the advertised special pictures were taken, the photographer asked, “Listen, I don’t have any appointments today and really need some new pictures for wall displays. Would you mind if I took more pictures of Jered?” What mother is going to say, “I don’t want my child’s face plastered on every wall of this studio?” Not this proud mama. We went to work.
The photographer handed me a box of clothes, asking me to choose several different outfits for Jered. First was a tuxedo. No, I am not kidding you. The photographer pulled down a silver backdrop, making Jered’s curly, black hair stand out and his blue eyes dance. Next was the blue snow suit against a red backdrop. With every backdrop, Jered’s appearance changed and an eternal truth lodged in my heart.
We have a different backdrop for every life experience. It is a manger – a cruel cross – an empty tomb – and eternity itself. That backdrop changes everything. It makes our hearts sing and our souls dance with the truth that we can always count on His joy in us to face the storms around us.

April 2

Grow in His Strength

“As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange God with him” (Deut. 32:11, 12).

Our Almighty Parent delights to conduct the tender nestlings of His care to the very edge of the precipice, and even to thrust them off into the steeps of air, that they may learn their possession of unrealized power of flight, to be forever a luxury; and if, in the attempt, they be exposed to unwonted peril, He is prepared to swoop beneath them, and to bear them upward on His mighty pinions. When God brings any of His children into a position of unparalleled difficulty, they may always count upon Him to deliver them.

–The Song of Victory

***
“When God puts a burden upon you He puts His own arm underneath.”

Rick Wallace Ministries
http://rickwallaceministries.bbnow.org

I Don’t Wanna Cry

I Don’t Wanna Cry.

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes….”(Rev. 21:4 and 7:17)

“And the Lord will wipe away tears from all faces….”(Isa. 25:8)

 

If you are anything like me, you have those moments in which tears begin to well up in your eyes.  You make abortive and bootless efforts to suppress the inevitable tide of physically manifested emotions.  Tears can be brought on by many ardent and effusive forces.  There are tears of regret; when I take a retrospective glance at my life, tears began to flow as I am reminded of the pain that has come to others because of my selfish actions.  There are tears of pain.  The same retrospection that produces regret also paints the malevolent and inclement portrait of abandonment and heartache.  There are tears of Joy, sadness, emptiness and loneliness.  Tears are most often associated with negative emotions.

 

It is a natural human instinct to hold back tears.  Nobody wants to cry.  I took some time to stop by and tell you that it’s okay to cry, your tears are temporary.

            “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory…”(2 Cor. 4:17)

 

Jesus promised it, mama confirmed it, and experience has consummated and solidified the fact that this world will bring pain to those that inhabit it.  There is no circumvention of the trials and tribulations of this life.  You will inevitably take some wrong turns that consequently lead to pain.  You will at some point and time experience the heartache brought on by the neglect and betrayal of those you love and hold dear.  There will be a time when you will, just as David, say, “In return for my love there are my love they have become my accusers…”(109:4)  There are men that with every ounce of their being attempt to stem the tide of tears that flow as a result of pains that run deep.  There are women that have sworn that they will not shed one more tear over a man that has repetitively wounded their emotional stability.  Yet, in both instances, these people wake in the morning to find their pillows drenched with tears.

 

Tears are as natural as the instinct to suppress them.  They are a physiological response to invisible emotions; emotions that the majority of us don’t want exposed.  In our culture, tears are considered a sign of weakness, especially when it comes to men.  However, our emotions were never meant to be suppressed, but expressed.  David, Jeremiah, and Jesus all wept.  Very few people understand that crying and weeping are part of the healing process.  Suppressed emotions are never conducive to proper healing.

 

 

 

The most awesome truth about our moments of weeping is that no matter how hard we try to conceal our tears, our weeping is never a solitary experience.

 

“And the Lord said: ‘I have surely seen the oppression of my people who are in Egypt, and I have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.”(Ex. 3:7)

 

God acknowledges that He has seen and heard the cries of His people.  He establishes the point that He is not some distant God that is cold and aloof toward His people.  Exodus 2:23 informs us that as the cries of the children of Israel rang out, God heard their groaning and He remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Remembering His promises, God looked upon the children of Israel and acknowledged them.  God has promised us that He will never leave nor forsake us.  This fact should bring solace to every believer.  Though the vault of your emotions has been breached and a medley of emotions cascade through the hollows of your existence, do not despair.  No matter how lonely the moment, irrespective to the current darkness, you are not alone.

 

Not only has God promised never to leave us alone, He has promised to act on our behalf.

            “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.”(2 Chron. 16:9)

 

“When the enemy comes in like a flood.  The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.”(Isa. 59:19)

 

God did not simply acknowledge the children of Israel and their circumstances, He became personally involved.

“So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians…”(Ex. 3:8)

 

Not only have “I’ heard their cries and seen their oppression, “I” am going to intervene on their behalf.  The God we serve is completely responsive to the needs of His people.  He does not sit idly by while they face the vicissitudes of life.  God responds to those tears with a decisive force, bringing power, joy, and peace.

 

In fact, it is those moments of mourning, weeping, and crying that God moves most awesomely in the lives of believers.  When the pain of the moment has taken control of your life; when the loneliness has consumed you and the manacles of depression have seized hold of you; when no one else seems to care, God hears and God answers.  God responded to the cries of Job, David, Jeremiah and more.  It was the weeping of Mary and Martha that moved Jesus to tears and prompted the resuscitation of Lazarus.  It was the weeping of the nation of Israel that caused God to speak through Ezekiel and promise to bring them up from their graves of despair.  God moves in moments of desperation.

 

Let us look once again at the book of Exodus so that we might closer examine the dynamics of God’s movement in the lives of His chosen.  It begins in Chapter 1.

            “But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty….Now there arose a new king over Egypt…and he said to his people….come, let us deal shrewdly with them….therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens….and they made them serve with rigor…. Then the King spoke to the midwives…and he said, when you do the duties of a midwife to the Hebrew women, if it is a son, then you shall kill him…”(Ex. 1:7-6)

 

The God we serve is a “show up” God, and the show up process begins at the moment of need.  Up to this point, God had sustained His people through providential care.  They had increased abundantly and grew exceedingly mighty, but the moment the Egyptians moved against them, the show up process began.  God’s subtle movements are revealed in His providential provisions.  There is nothing subtle about the show up process; when God shows up He shows out.  He is completely radical in His movement.  He leaves no doubt as to who has brought deliverance.  Your tears are a visible sign that God is about to bust a move in your situation.

 

 

Every oppressive move of the Egyptians drew God closer to His people.  Every lash of the taskmasters whip, every drop of sweat from the brow of an enslaved Israelite, every vociferous cry of a Hebrew woman brought closer the day that God’s inimitable and unsurpassed power would be displayed on behalf of His chosen.  The tears of the believer are like a magnet that acts as a spiritually kinetic force that draws God to the center of the struggle.  Sometimes all you can do is cry.  Your ability to reason has dissipated, rendering you dysfunctional.  You want to pray, but you can’t form the words.  All you can do is cry.  Your soul sinks within you and the questions of why, how and when press their way to the surface.  Why is this happening to me?  How could he/she do this to me?  When will it end?  All of these questions have their place, however, the most pertinent question is not why, how, or when, but who?  Who can I turn to when my attempts to ebb the tides of the tribulation proves futile?  Who can I trust when no one else seems to care?  When those who are normally the pillars of support in my life are being crushed under the weight of life’s realities, to whom can I turn to be the buttress that sustains me in the midst of the storm?

“When I cry out to you, Then my enemies will turn back; this I know, because God is for me.” (PS 56:9)

“And it will be for a sign and for a witness…for they will cry to the Lord…and he will send them a savior and a Mighty one, and He will deliver them.”(Isa. 19:20)

 

“Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep….So David recovered all…and nothing of theirs was lacking, either small or great….David recovered all…”(1 Sam. 30:4, 18-19)

 

 

When there is nowhere else to turn, even when there is “no more power” to weep, God hears our cries, even the silent cries of a desperate soul.  It’s okay, go ahead and cry.  Your tears are a release of the pressures, hurts and disappointments of the moment.  Your tears are a clarion sounding to God that His child is in need.  Your tears are not meant to be quenched or suppressed; they are an expression of the heart’s yearnings.  Your tears are a part of God’s show up process.

 

Isn’t it awesome to be in Love with a God that loves you; a God that becomes personally involved in our lives.  I can’t promise you that there will not be tears, in fact, the one you hold dearest may yet break your heart; the expectations for tomorrow may go unfulfilled; in return for your love, they may become your accuser.  Yet, God, in His bountiful love, sees, hears, and responds to the cries of His people.

 

God, through His Word, has not only promised temporal relief from life’s struggles and disappointments, but an eternal acknowledgment and comforting for every tear shed during this ethereal journey of Christianity.

 

“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.”(PS. 46:1)

“For the lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”(Rev. 7:17)

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”(Rev. 21:4)

 

In Psalms 46, we find that God is a present help in trouble.  He is there during those bouts with loneliness; He is there when you are grieving and mourning the loss of a loved one; He is there when all you possess is taken away.  No matter what you are going through; no matter how dark the moment, God is there.  Not only is He a present help, but he has promised to bring eternal peace and comfort.  He has promised to wipe every tear permanently away from your eyes, after which there will be no more death, no more sorrow, nor crying.  He has promised that He will personally take away forever, every pain, every heartache, and every tormenting struggle.

 

Isaiah 25:8 says, “He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces.  Isaiah 35:10 says, “And the “ransomed” of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing.  With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and singing shall flee away.”

 

“The ransomed” refers to those who have been purchased at a price; those whose debt has been expiated by the Son.  “The ransomed” are those who have been redeemed by the precious “Blood” of the “Lamb”.  Ransomed and redeemed are words meritorious of our concentrated attention.  These words remind us that we have been released from the prison of sin; we have been rescued from the pit of hell; we have been preserved for all eternity; we have been liberated, set free, and cut loose from the shackles of eternal damnation.  God in His matchless love has said, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave…(Hosea 13:14)”

 

 

When we keep in view the fact that we are creatures redeemed by the creator; when we are able to apprehend in full the understanding of the magnitude of the love required for God to redeem us in our sinful state, we will view our trials, sufferings, and disappointments in a different light.  We will view them as Paul did:

 

            “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”(Rom. 8:18)

“We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed….for our light affliction, which is but for a moment is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of Glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.  For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4: 8,9,17 and 18)

 

Your tears are a temporary response to the reality of the moment.  Your tears are a physical expression of an emotional state.  It’s okay, go ahead and cry, the pain won’t last forever.  God’s on His way and He’s bringing joy with Him.  He’s coming to wipe away ever tear.  You may be crying now, but weeping only endures for a night, for joy comes in the morning.  Cry if you must, but do not despair; the God we serve is a show up God.  He is on His way to deliver, to heal, to liberate, and to exalt.  So, let the tears flow when they come, for soon God will wipe every tear away!

 

May you be richly blessed!

 

Sincerely,

Bishop Rick Wallace

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