LIFE + MUSIC

Pain and Difficulty: A GOOD Gift From God

Many people tend to think that suffering in life is a punishment from God.  The Bible teaches that pain and difficulty is actually God's mercy to us.  God uses the suffering we experience to shape and mold us to become more like Him. 

"He [God] disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness.  For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." (Hebrews 12:10-11) 

Being a Christian does not mean that we get a free pass from difficulty.   The Bible is filled with examples of Godly men who suffered despite that fact that they were doing what God told them to do.  It is not the wrath of God to allow us to suffer, but rather his mercy working for our good and ultimate joy.  

"And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

Objective Evidence Of A True Believer

Do you claim to be a Christian only because you grew up going to church?   I used to identify as a Christian only because I knew some facts about God (Jesus died for my sins, Jesus is the only way to heaven, etc.).  Even though I knew those facts about God, I had no relationship with Him and I was far from Him.

If you have no desire to follow God’s Word, you might not be a Christian.  The objective evidence of a true believer is a desire to pursue a relationship with God and to submit to His Word.  Check out this awesome clip from a recent sermon at The Village:

I'm Selfish / Granny Passed Away / God Is Good!

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    My wife brings out the best in me.  I can be so selfish and self centered.  Her abundance of  care and compassion gives me a reality check and makes me a better person.  She's always finding ways to make others feel special.  God is constantly using her to show me how I can better serve others.

    It's been a long 2 weeks.  Granny was in the hospital (ICU) and the both of us would go to work for a full day and then drive 40 minutes to the hospital every day.  Granny would be doing great one day and we were hopeful that she would bounce back.  Then the next day, she would be in critical condition again.  Yesterday evening (Friday May 5th), I was physically and emotionally tired of going through this.  The weather was beautiful outside and I just wanted to go sit out at a restaurant on the patio and relax a little before heading to the hospital.  Our Friday routine is to eat dinner at a restaurant and I'll order a beer with my meal.  That's what I wanted to do this evening as well.  But my wife said that we should not waste any time to go be at the hospital with my dad and to also be there for Granny.  Ultimately, she let me decide what I wanted to do, but I reluctantly agreed that's what we should do. 

    When we got to the hospital, the both of us were taking turns holding Granny's hand.  It was uncomfortable to sit at the bedside because the bed rails were tall.  I took a little break, played on my phone and rested my back in a chair.  Michele said, "Bryson, Granny is breathing weird.  Come talk to her."  I went by her bedside and we held her hand for about 30-1hr.  All of a sudden, she stopped breathing at around 9pm.  I looked on the heart monitor and her heart rate started dropping.  I knew it was time; the Lord called Granny home.  

    That evening, I had prayed that we wouldn't have to make a decision to stop the ventilator.  We prayed numerous times for God to heal her; I prayed that God would give her a glimpse of heaven, bring her back to life, overflow her with the Holy Spirit and that she would be used to bring many people to faith in her last days.  But I also prayed that if it was her time to go, that God would let her peacefully pass away and allow her heart to stop beating rather than making us decide when to pull the plug on the ventilator.  God answered my prayers.  I thank God for my wife who encouraged me to be selfless when I wanted to be selfish.  I thank God for Granny's life that I was able to have a special relationship with her.  God is so good! 

    We often don't live life with the mindset that there's something greater coming after.  This is just the warm up...the pre game show.   In moments like these, we all feel the sting of death.  But for the believer in Christ, there’s coming a day when the sting of death will be no more.  There’s coming a day when God will wipe away every tear and we will be in His presence forever (Revelation 21:4).