Overcoming Suffering

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39 (TNIV)


“I can’t believe my cousin had told my aunt that I said those things,” lamented a friend over the phone.

Her cousin was diagnosed with an illness. She called to try to comfort him. Instead, her words became like a sword that pierced and wounded her cousin’s heart. Because of what he was going through that he knew was just the start of his suffering, he must have misunderstood the meaning behind my friend’s words. Instead of feeling comforted, he got very upset and chose to distance himself from his cousin since.

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Co-workers knew the battle I had been in at my workplace for over a year now. The process I took of fighting for myself would be like a snail’s pace. Slow…but it would still come. They knew the trial I was in was not that easy for no one dared to fight. Most of the nurses who people in higher positions disliked, ended up exiting the prison’s door, ending their career as Correctional Nurses. I knew I would suffer. It would be difficult to face those Goliaths. But like David, I knew I wouldn’t be alone.

I woke up this morning, my spirit feeling low knowing so many people around me and including myself, faced trials or sufferings. I wandered to the Book of Job. Knowing how much this man had gone through but despite him facing the worst calamities of life, he chose to never wane his faith and belief in one, true God. I wanted to not waver in my faith, too. Sometimes, it was not easy. I think I focused more on the wounds in my heart and that of others I loved. I saw myself with his cries:

“What are mere mortals, that you should make so much of us? For you examine us every morning and test us every moment. Why won’t You  leave me alone – even for a moment? Have I sinned? What have I done to You, O Watcher of all humanity? Why have You made me Your target? Am I a burden to You? Why not just pardon my sin and take away my guilt? For soon I will lie down in the dust and die. When You look for me, I will be gone.” – Job 7:17-21 (NLT)

I stopped in the middle of those verses. I felt a conviction stirred inside of me. Why did those questions sounded like God was Job’s enemy? For He surely never felt that way for me. I don’t believe that God is amused when one is facing life’s toughest storms.

Like Job who hungered to know the reasons why bad things happened to him, it is by gaining wisdom that a person can truly understand why bad things happen. Even to good people. So, where does wisdom come from?

Job answered himself: “But do people know where to find wisdom? Where can they find understanding? For it is hidden from the eyes of all humanity. Even the sharp-eyed birds in the sky cannot discover it. But Destruction and Death say, ‘We have heard a rumor of where wisdom can be found.’ (Job 28:20-22,NLT)

“God surely knows where it can be found, for he looks throughout the whole earth, under all the heavens. He made the winds blow and determined how much rain should fall. He made the laws of the rain and prepared a path for the lightning. Then, when he had done all this, he saw wisdom and measured it. He established it and examined it thoroughly. And this is what he says to all humanity:

The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.’” – Job 28:23-28 (NLT) -emphasis is mine...

I don’t know why bad things happen to good people. We are limited with answers. But God is not. He is the Source of wisdom. If He is, then I must continue to respect and revere Him because that’s only the beginning…Of finding true wisdom that this world doesn’t know…Because when one is able to find true wisdom, he can see bad things as opportunities instead to turn to God, the One Who knows everything, for strength and to be able to endure. When he can trust God when in pain, confusion, loneliness, depression, then he can win the victory and repel the darts of doubt that the devil throws to those who love God.



"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." - John 16:33(NLT)
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Encouragers

The Attacker (5/15/09)

The sun was just peeking from the Eastern skies. Ephesians 6:12 [37 kb]


Out in the prison’s yard, some huge Sheriff’s buses were illuminated by the soft glow coming from the lights all over from the tall lamp posts. Their engines were turned on, warming up, before the buses would take the inmates to the different courts where they would have their trials.


Orange-uniformed men were lined up in pairs, joined together with handcuffs and chained, forming a long line. They already had their breakfast and had their morning medications prior to going to courts. Some were fidgeting, as they waited to board those buses.


All of a sudden, all hell broke loose! Two men were engaged in a fight, using weapons they made secretly for a while. Deputies called for help on the radio, both for custody back-up and medical staff, as well.


When the air was cleared and the other inmates were secured, one man was down on the floor. He sustained multiple gashes but two of them were deep. One cut was vertically etched from his left ear going down to the jaw line. The other dangerous cut was horizontal on his left neck, close to the jugular vein. Pool of blood dripped all over the floor. Holding his bleeding neck, he was pointing at the other inmate few feet away, being guarded by the other deputies.


The other man being accused was not hurt. There were no lacerations nor any other signs of trauma. He was obviously very agitated as he was being questioned by those deputies, while the medical staff started treating the other man on the floor. They cleaned the wounds and controlled the bleeding. That man was sent to the nearby hospital.


When the investigation was finalized, it turned out to be that the “downed man who was accusing the other inmate” was the attacker and the other one who didn’t have injury was the one attacked. The deputies found out that it was the second attempt to attack the unhurt man. Both attacks on him failed. He was well-prepared after the first attempt on him, that when the second attempt was done, he was able to defend himseld and ended up injuring his attacker severely.


[Source: Life Application Bible]:


We also have an “accuser of the brethren.” Satan and his army of demons are the enemies of God and of everything good.


“Because God’s children are human beings – made of flesh and blood – Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death.” –Hebrews 2:14


Because of what Jesus had done [dying on the cross], we, who live in constant fear of death shouldn’t be afraid anymore. Jesus had freed us from that fear so we can live for Him. When we belong to God, we know that death is only the portal that leads into “eternal life”. [“Thank You Lord!].


Paul warned us, too that we also battle against the evil forces of Satan, who is a vicious fighter. But to be able to withstand their attacks, we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of His armor. We face an army whose goal is to defeat Christ’s church. When we believe in Christ, they become our enemies. They will try any device to turn us away from the Lord.


Fear not! For God has provided His supernatural power to defeat Satan and his army, through His Holy Spirit within us. So, arm yourselves with God’s armor.


Let us be strong in the Lord's mighty power. Let's put on His whole armor to resist the enemy's attacks: put on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that we are well-prepared. We will need faith in every battle as our shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed by Satan and his army. Let us put on salvation as our helmet, not forgetting the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Let's pray at all times, on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. We must stay alert and be persistent in our prayers for all Christians everywhere. [Ephesians 6:10-18].

Friends