“These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” ~John 16:33 (KJV)
"Things don't go wrong and break your heart so you can become bitter and give up. They happen to break you down and build you up so you can be all that you were intended to be."
~ Charlie Jones, motivational speaker and author of “Life is Tremendous”
By Eileen Umbehr
Do you ever feel like you’re fighting life
Or that life is fighting you?
Believe me when I say that I understand
Because I have felt that way, too.
But life has a way of teaching us
Those lessons we so need to learn
And if we don’t pass the test the first time
We just start over and repeat our turn.
We can waste a lot of time asking God “why?”
Or we can trust that He knows what is best
After all, He loves us more than anyone could
And His desire is that we be blessed.
But just as our children don’t always agree
With the decisions that we parents make
We just hope that one day they will understand
That we did what we did for their sake.
For faith is the substance of things hoped for
And the evidence of things not seen
That means putting our life in God’s capable hands,
From beginning to end and in between.
Yes, the Bible tells us not to avoid our problems
But let patience have its perfect work
Because then we will not lack in anything
That we need to survive on this Earth
For not until we reach those Pearly Gates
Will the troubles of life pass away
So for now I will endeavor to let God be God
And for His strength daily I will pray.
“Thank you, Lord, for all that I learned from my brokenness . . . .for the courage it takes to live with the pain. . . .and for the strength it takes to remain on the shore.” ~ Carol Hamblet Adams, author of “My Beautiful Broken Shell”
In 1981, Rabbi Harold Kushner published a book titled, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People,” which later became a #1 bestseller. The publisher’s comments listed on the Barnes and Noble website describe how Rabbi Kushner wrote the book after learning that his three-year-old son, Aaron, would die in his early teens from a rare disease.
I think it is understandable for those who are confronted with tragedy in their lives to wonder why this particular event happened to them or their family. We often ask what we did to deserve this, as if it is some form of punishment for past sins. But that is simply not the case. In the Book of Job we read that Job was a man who was “blameless and upright, one who feared God and shunned evil.” Our righteousness - or lack thereof – has nothing whatsoever to do with the amount of tribulation in our life.
“The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” ~Psalm 34: 18,19
If we look at the life and death of Jesus Himself, He prayed that if possible, His cup of suffering could pass from Him. But then He added, “Not my will, but Thine be done.” Jesus realized that there was so much more at stake – indeed, the salvation of all mankind. In the same way, we need to realize that sometimes our troubles are not about us, but about how God can miraculously use difficult situations in our lives to help multitudes of others cope with the struggles in their life.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” ~ II Corinthians 1:3,4 (NKJV)
Rabbi Kushner stated that he not only wrote his book out of a need to process his own grief, but in hopes of helping others who might find themselves facing a similar situation. “I am fundamentally a religious man who has been hurt by life and I wanted to write a book that could be given to the person who has been hurt by life, and who knows in his heart that if there is justice in the world, he deserved better... If you are such a person, if you want to believe in God's goodness and fairness but find it hard because of the things that have happened to you and to people you care about, and if this book helps you do that, then I will have succeeded in distilling some blessing out of Aaron's pain and tears."
I think that’s what we all look for in times of trial – a way to garner something positive out of an event that is seemingly wholly negative. In the case of my cancer diagnosis and subsequent mastectomy, it is my deepest desire that the good that comes from it could very possibly be lives saved – lives of women who, after reading or hearing about my experience, will themselves get the mammogram they have been putting off. In so doing, maybe some of them will be fortunate enough to catch the disease at an early stage so that they will be able to treat it and go on to enjoy a long and healthy life. Yes, that is my heartfelt prayer.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” ~Romans 8:35,37-39 and 28 (NKJV)