Tuesday, December 18, 2007

In Other Words

“Don’t blame suffering in the world on the anger of God. He’s not mad; he didn’t mess up. Follow your troubles to their headwaters, and you won’t find any angry or befuddled God. But you will find a sovereign God.Your pain has a purpose.
Your problems, struggles, heartaches, and hassles cooperate toward one end — the glory of God.”
~ Max Lucado ~It’s Not About Me

I must admit I was tempted to not to participate in Tuesday's "In Other's Words". Like everyone else, I'm just so busy. However, when I read this awesome quote by one of my favorite authors, I simply could not resist! This topic is so personal to me for many reasons, and it is something that has carried me through some of the most difficult times of my life.

If there is one principal in the Word I fully embrace and stand on unmoved it is "the sovereignty of God". I like the way Paul addressed this subject when he said, "For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be the glory for ever. Amen" (Romans 11:36). He also wrote in Eph. 1:11 "who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will"

To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the Possessor of all power in Heaven and earth. No one can stand against His counsels, thwart His purpose, or resist His will (Psa. 115:3).

I also believe that God will use the many heartaches and struggles we must deal with here on earth, and will cause these circumstances to bring glory unto Himself in the end, but the ultimate choice of how we face these problems is ours.

Will we become distraught, loose sight of His is purposes, and allow our faith to fail? Or will we trust and hope in the power of the sovereign Lord to bring us through, knowing He works all things together for our good?

Many years ago I was receiving counseling to help me work through some personal struggles after the death of my mother. My mother was such a woman of faith, and never stopped believing that God would heal her right up until her last breath. I had such a hard time when God took her home, and I began to question God. I will never forget an illustration my counselor shared with me.

He said, “you can take two men that have been to war. Both come home with no legs. One sits on a palate, with a cup in his hand, bitter, angry, blaming God and begging on the street just to survive. The other one is in a wheel chair. He has learned to live life without his legs. He goes back to college, and gets a job on campus. Plays on a wheelchair basketball team, and has lots of friends. Goes to church and loves to witness about how God spared his life in the war so that he could be a voice to bring glory to God. He knows his life has value and he is making a difference in spite of his struggles.”

You see our greatest handicap is not our outward circumstances, but it’s our heart and our mind. Two men, same hardship, one bitter, one better. Which will you be?”

The word is filled with examples of great men who went through so much pain, hardship, loss, and great disappointments. Naturally Job comes to mind. What a great response he had when he said, “Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly”. (Job 1:21-22)

But I also really like what Paul said when he was in prison locked up in chains. "Now I want you to know brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly”. (Phil 1:12-14)

Wow, what an example and awesome testimony to all of us of someone who completely trusted God's plan for his life. In spite of his circumstances Paul recognized the sovereignty of God.

Since the diagnoses of my son's brain tumor God has brought me into contact with many people that I would never have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. On many occasions I have had the opportunities to speak words of hope to these precious people in their times of despair or loss. Then God has turned this around and given me the courage and faith and to face the difficulties in my own life.

The Word says, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over” (Lk. 6:38). How true it has been in my own life. I know God has a plan for all of us. No matter what may happen to us in this life, God will make all things beautiful in HIS TIME. He is sovereign, He is loving, and He is good. In this revelation I find rest each day.

Be glorified in my life each day O Lord...

If you would to read what other's are writing about on this quote you can go over to Hopeful's Spirit's site. Her post is just incredible!


MiPa said...

bitter or better, which to be? What a great question! What great motivation. Bless you for sharing.

Heather@Mommymonk said...

Bitter or better? I needed to be reminded of this today - it's a choice to allow our struggles to work towards God's purposes.

lori said...

You see our greatest handicap is not our outward circumstances, but it’s our heart and our mind. Two men, same hardship, one bitter, one better. Which will you be?”

YOU got me with that line too...
what a message in that quote!

Your words this morning were really really powerful...
I too felt inclined NOT to participate, and when I read this quote, I knew I needed to..
it speaks of the faith and hope and trust that embodies the season we are in...
and then become the seasons of our lives...
trusting HIS faithfulness!
can't ever get enough of that message!

Lori Madison said...

I really enjoyed the story that your counsler told you. It is so true that it is our attitude not our outside circumstances that determine how our life will be. Have a wonderful week ahead.

My In Other Words

Anonymous said...

That illustration was incredible. Our attitudes make all the difference. What a great mental picture that paints with the two men. It so much easier to have a bad attitude. But, in the end, I think it costs us way more. Working hard to maintain a positive attitude and keep our focus on God is exactly where He wants us to be!

Marsha said...

Thank you for this wonderful reminder.
When we are in a place of suffering, trial, persecution, whatever it my be, we are being called into the fellowship of His suffering (Philippians 3:8-11). There He is, right there with us just like He was there with Daniel in the fiery furnace and in the lion's den.
Blessings sister.

Living Beyond said...

First I just want to say how sorry I am that I just realized your son has a brian tumor. So you will totally understand this quote!

It is so true that our handicap is not outward but all a matter of the heart and mind - so incredibly true.

Bless you for sharing today even though you didn't feel like it!

Merry Christmas

Denise said...

Bless you dear.

Lelia Chealey said...

Hi Susan!
I'm so glad you visited my blog. Thanks so much for your sweet & encouraging comments. I just read your post & I loved one of your lines:
In spite of his
circumstances Paul recognized the sovereignty of God.

It is so clear although you have probably had your dark days that you're eyes are completely fixed on God. Your mind steadfast on Him through this season with your son.
As with your son God must be pleased at how many lives you've touched through your writings but especially your faith. I will definitely be coming to your blog daily. Nice meeting you too! Oh, and before I even got to read a post this morning on your site, the music got me. I had an awesome worship time with God this morning-tears and all just from the music on your blog. I put it on mine too, so thank you!!! :)
Your sister in Christ~

http://www.hopefulspirit.com said...

I would have sworn that I left a comment here this a.m., but don't see it.

In any event, I am very glad that you participated this week, even though you hesitated. The conversation would not have been complete without your thoughts. I love the way you emphasized the idea of sovereignty. Blessings to you and your family this holiday season.

Hopeful Spirit
On the Horizon