Summary: God works all things together for His good and our good - even the worst struggles in life.
HELPING THE WOUNDED TO SEE HOW GOD CAN USE THEIR STRUGGLES FOR GOOD
Illustration; When I hear my friends say they hope their children don’t have to experience the hardships they went through--I don’t agree. Those hardships made us what we are. You can be disadvantaged in many ways, and one way may be not having had to struggle.
William M. Batten, Fortune.
Having to work underneath an authoritarian leader probably means that you will experience some kind of discipline, accusation, or chastening. A person of strong faith knows how to endure the pain of false accusations.
Consider two of America’s most famous military leaders who somehow managed to triumph through alleged scandals.
ILlustration: Admiral Perry, the explorer who thrilled the entire world with his exploration of the North Pole with dog sleds on April 6th, 1909, withstood harsh accusations. After accomplishing his great goal that other courageous men had failed to achieve, he weathered worse storms of false insinuations from his critics. Even though Perry almost died on his journey from cold and starvation; had eight toes frozen so hard they had to be cut off, and feared he would go insane at one time from the isolation, still men accused him of conducting the expedition for self-glory. Perry’s military superiors were so envious of his success that they falsely labeled him a "Glory Seeking Man". When Perry was getting so much publicity and acclaim, they accused him of collecting money for scientific expeditions and then lying around loafing in the arctic. Many people were willing to believe these lies only because they wanted to. Only a direct order from President McKinley enabled Perry to continue his career goals.
ILlustration: After experiencing his first battlefield victory, General Ulysses S. Grant was thrown into jail on a false charge by his superior officers. When he was released from jail he resumed command and won another major victory that made him a hero throughout the north. However, within six weeks of this victory, Grant was arrested again and his army taken from him on the grounds that his superior officers accused him of drinking and mismanaging military funds. Grant had to endure scorn for the sake of others’ deliverance. He learned that unjust criticism was a distinguished complement to success. Even Jesus had to endure the accusations of the high priest that said of our Lord, "He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses?" The fellow priests shouted, "He is worthy of death!" (Matthew 26:65,66) We learn a few things during prosperity. However, we learn many more lessons from adversity. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that God allows us to go through such hard times since we may not be able to learn certain lessons in any other way. When things get rough, remember: It is the rubbing that brings out the best shine!
The following suggestions may be especially needed during your times of adversity:
HOW THE LORD USES PAIN FOR OUR GOOD
1. God used pain in Job’s life to correct many mistaken beliefs about his own rights, expectations, assumptions, relationships, health, prosperity, controls, family, friends, faults, and securities. The Lord wonderfully used pain in Job’s life to purify him of anything that would keep him from becoming 100% of what the Lord wanted him to think, be, and do. Job responded to God’s correction in Job 40:2-8 and Job 42:1-10, "Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? Do you have an arm like God’s and can your voice thunder like His? Look at every proud man and humble him. Crush the wicked where they stand… Then I will admit to you that your own right hand can save… to which Job said, "I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted…. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes… After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before." The Lord wanted to correct Job of his faulty presumptions, perspectives, attitudes, practices, and problems.
God uses pain more often than other things to motivate, persuade, inspire, instruct, chasten, and mature people!
2. God used pain in the life of Amos to teach the people of Israel that they were allowing temporal security to replace their trust in the living God. Amos warned his people of God’s impending judgment on them for their moral evils, their wide class distinctions between the rich and the poor, their drunkenness and sexual immoralities, their religious perversions, their idolatry, their criticizing of the faithful, plus their indifference to the Lord and all that He had done for them. Amos warned the Israelites that unless they repented and obeyed God, terrible judgment would result. He stressed that judgment is proportional to privilege.