Thursday, November 17, 2005

This Present Distress

What all can happen in your life? Have you ever done a 360 degree look at your life, as in the past, present and future? Looking at human history, it is evident that we cannot know the future.

Ho­ra­tio G. Spaf­ford for example. Life was going wonderfully. He was a wealthy business man in Chicago, was a "Christian" and seemed like life was in the right direction. He was a layman, a lawyer and professor of medical jurisprudence from Chicago who maintained a close friendship with D.L. Moody and other Christian leaders of that day. He had 5 children which he loved dearly. Four girls and one boy.

His son who was still a boy became ill. With 5 kids, I am sure at first this wasn't a huge concern. People get sick, and people get well. But this time it was different for him. His son died from his illness. Life had been rocked for him. Losing his only son.

The next year the great Chi­ca­go Fire of Oc­to­ber 1871 took, for all practical purposes, ALL of his real estate. He went from being wealthy to not having any assets. Second blow. He decided since he had no business to take care of he would cross the Atlantic to join D.L. Moody in his work for a while with his family to get through this hard time.

However, business matters in Chicago, more than likely dealing with sorting out what real estate was who's, caused him to send his family ahead with the plans of following a short while later himself. And then a few weeks later, received the well known simple telegraph from his wife. "Saved alone." He lost his 4 daughters in a ship wreck.

So, within a time frame of over a year as I can tell, this man who had worked his whole life to build his family, and plan for the future with investments, lost his 5 children and his wealth. Leaving him and his wife to start all over again.

I ask myself, how do people go on after all this…

Back to the subject at hand, when I think of what all might happen in the future in my life that I can't see, and seeing what people have lived through in the past can cause fear and questions in my heart. From the Christian Martyrs of the past, to the victims of tyranny and cruelty like Hitler's Germany and the 9-11 attacks, questions arise with out answers.

So looking up to heaven I began to think of God and the Word of God. With as honest and sincere heart as I can have I ponder questions in my heart to God like, "Why? What about my child? Are you going to protect her? And my wife, God?" I ask, "Please don't let anything like these things happen to them…" With no guarantees I go away knowing the petition is before him none the less.

Then I realize God is in control. I heard the statement that Osama Bin Laden is merely a tiny blimp on Gods radar screen. And God certainly isn't concerned about him getting out of control. God sees the end from the beginning. (that is a whole other subject… can I get a witness from ACFW MIT!!!) He doesn't have to move from side to side in this thing called time to avoid getting the stuffens' knocked out of him like some football player. But rather he is the absolute. All else moves around him… as he allows.

God had his hand protecting Job. And God CHOSE to remove the hedge from him. God was still in control. Job came out on top, but God taught us a good lesson on how to deal with uncertain circumstances when it comes to questioning his choice for our lives. See here what God had to say about questioning and pondering the "Why God?" and the "What did I do to deserve this?" questions:

(Job 38:1) Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
(Job 38:2) Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?
(Job 38:3) Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.
(Job 38:4) Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.

Lets just say… God is in control and we shouldn't advise him.

I may not know what is going to happen to me in life but I don't let them bother my mind late at night when I am trying to sleep so to speak. If God is in control, and I am serving him with everything, I have nothing to fear. "If God be for us, who can be against us?" "Let God arise and his enemies be scattered." I must pray as Jesus did in the garden, "Not my will, but thy will be done." Then I can do "all things through Christ which strengths me." When we start questioning, let us remember:

(Romans 9:18) Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
(Romans 9:19) Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
(Romans 9:20) Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

In my time of distress I hope to see things as Ho­ra­tio G. Spaf­ford saw things a few years later as he crossed the Atlantic and came close to the spot were his daughters drowned. He penned the below hymn as result of all that happened.

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul!

It is well ... with my soul!
It is well, it is well, with my soul.