Passage for Study: 2nd Corinthians 12: 1 – 10 … Linked for study …
My Journal for Today: As a teacher – and that’s one of my Spirit imparted gifts – I often repeat a mantra taught to me by my mentor years ago; and that is, “Redundancy teaches!” In other words, when you hear a message over and over again from a reliable source, we should listen and learn; because that lesson is probably important. How about God? As a source of learning, is HE reliable and important enough to listen and learn? So, I’ve learned – quite often in fact – if we read something from God’s truth, (i.e., the Bible), especially something that comes at us repeatedly, we should listen and learn (and yes, even memorize and internalize).
So, today, Chuck Swindoll hits on one of those repetitive truths; and it is one which our repeated passage today teaches just like the same message that goes back to the oldest recorded book in the Bible, which we just finished studying not too long ago, the Book of Job. The lesson: SUFFERING IS NOT NEW!
When we studied Job, we saw how he hated, by accepted God’s deal with Satan (unknown to Job) which visited horrible suffering upon Job and his family. We read of Job’s poor wife telling her man to curse God and die; and Job retorting that his family had accepted so many blessings from God; so why shouldn’t they accept adversity. But in today’s culture, even from so-called “christian” sources, we hear the teaching of the prosperity teachers, saying that when we find God, we’ll experience good health and great wealth. And the message of Job’s suffering and now Paul’s thorn just doesn’t sit well with a people who try to sell pain reduction at all costs and the pursuit of happiness as our inalienable right.
But my friend, we had better learn the lesson of inevitable suffering sooner, rather than later; because when suffering hits, if we are bowled over by it, we become easy prey for an enemy who would use our suffering to get us questioning the very presence of God, let alone that His love is found in the midst of the suffering.
Dear one, I hope – and will pray today – that we all learn and know the lesson of the OT and NT, … that God will never leave us, nor forsake us (see Deut. 31: 6 and Heb. 13: 5). I pray that we can be witness to the truth that God loves us just as much – if not more – in the hard times as He does in the easy times. I pray that we learn that God’s “blessings” might just include suffering as well as good fortune. Because if we can’t learn that lesson proactively, we’re very likely to have to learn it, as did Job and Paul, retroactively. It’s one of the most highly repeated lessons in all of Scripture; so, my friend, let us learn it and use if for God’s glory!
My Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, help us to learn the lessons You have to teach us in suffering; so that our responses will be as Job or Paul, by giving witness to Your love in the midst of the suffering. Amen