How Long?

Phil Ryken

Today I received an anonymous prayer card from someone who was at Tenth Presbyterian Church yesterday for worship.  The card asked us to pray for a baby whose heart is failing and may need a transplant.

The baby’s parents are believers in Jesus Christ.  On Saturday the mother, fearing for her daughter’s life, asked her husband, “How long will God continue to show us mercy?”

“Always,” he replied.

Love Alone

Caedmon’s Call

The prince of despair’s been beaten
But the loser still fights
Death’s on a long leash
Stealing my friends to the night

And everyone cries for the innocent
You say to love the guilty, too
And I’m surrounded by suffering and sickness
So I’m working tearing back the roof

How can I believe in God when there’s so much suffering?

Michael Ramsden

Maybe the reason we question God’s moral character when bad things happen is that we live lives largely independent from Him – in other words, do we really trust Him even when things are going well?

Maybe we struggle with suffering so much in the West because we are so comfortable most of the time that we feel we don’t need God. We don’t rely on Him on a daily basis, and so we don’t really know Him as we should. When suffering comes along, therefore, it is not so much that it takes us away from God, but that it reveals to us that we haven’t really been close to Him in the first place.

Link: Complete Article

The High Masts of Suffering

Michael Horton

For those who are tied to the high masts of suffering, there is often a fear that is greater than the fear of death. It is the fear of life. It is the fear of the next morning, and the morning after that. In the face of deep despair, the temptation is great to either turn away from God because the suffering is somehow credited to his wrath toward personal sins, or to turn toward him because one knows that he or she is at peace with God.

Genesis 17

[9] And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. [10] This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. [11] You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you…”

[23] Then Abraham took Ishmael his son and all those born in his house or bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house, and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very day, as God had said to him. [24] Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. [25] And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. [26] That very day Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised. [27] And all the men of his house, those born in the house and those bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.

– Genesis 17:9-11, 23-27

God dictates to Abraham the sign of belonging to Him – circumcision.  The sign is both permanent and painful, yet at 99 Abraham does not hesitate.  Abraham is not interested in delaying, calculating the cost, or taking time to pray about it.  He knows what it is to belong to the Lord, and he is eager to bear the mark, aware that it involves temporary pain.

We live in a culture that aims to get as much as it can for as little cost or labor as possible.  What we will hopefully learn before too many years pass is that there is very little worth having that involves neither cost nor labor.  The best things tend to have the highest cost.  Yet if they are truly everything they say they are, they make that cost forgettable.  One such thing is belonging to the One True God.  It is everything He says it is.

Busy

John Piper

There is a mind-set in the prosperous West that we deserve pain-free, trouble-free existence.  When life deals us the opposite, we have a right not only to blame somebody or some system and to feel sorry for ourselves, but also to devote most of our time to coping, so that we have no time or energy left over for serving others.