Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Count It All Joy

Post written by Raymund Tamayo

“Why me, Lord?"

This is the most common question we ask when we experience problems and misfortunes. We expect that it will always be all sunshine, and that God somehow made a mistake when something bad happens in our lives.

Most of us live in a relatively healthy and secure society. In fact, that is what we work hard for, to provide our families the good life they deserve, right? But such a condition gives us a sense of false security, a feeling that we deserve only good things in our lives.

We are tempted to be arrogant, unknowingly convincing ourselves that we are in control of our own world.

Soon, the inevitable difficulties and setbacks come – illness, a difficult relationship, financial problems – and we find ourselves emotionally unprepared.

The world is not made for anyone’s convenience

The simple truth is that the world was never made for anyone’s convenience. The moment sin entered our world, it became imperfect and corruptible. That’s why God made the plan to send His only Son, Jesus, so that anyone who surrenders his life to Him can experience the eternity and perfection of heaven.

God has no obligation to single out someone from among the billions of people on planet Earth and exempt him from any untoward incident.

Not to blame anyone, but in reality most of our problems are consequences of our own decisions.

We don’t eat healthy and exercise regularly. Result: health problems.

We get into debt, don’t save and invest, and live beyond our means. Result: financial problems.

We put our self above everyone else (selfishness), we are foul-tempered and moody. Result: relational problems.

All these are the product of our own choices.

Although there are still some unfortunate circumstances that we can’t do anything about and are external in nature like natural calamities, economic downturn, etc.

If we can’t accept the fact that the world is not made for any one’s convenience, then we are in for a terrible beating every time something bad happens to us.

Problems bring us closer to God

Surprisingly, if we look at it in a different perspective, problems actually bring us closer to God.

Trials give us the opportunity to call on God and ask for Him to save us. It gives us the opportunity to be more sincere and intense with our prayers. In the right perspective, it forces us to trust God more and hold on to Him tighter no matter what.

About three years ago, my wife and I experienced the most difficult time of our collective lives when our daughter was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. It was a very heartbreaking, painful moment. As soon as the doctor gave her diagnosis on our daughter, we were gripped with sadness, worries, and confusion on what to do next. We can’t believe that this is happening to our daughter, to our family. We started questioning God, Why us? We have served You faithfully. We’ve given You our lives. We’ve done these things for You. And now this?

For the first week upon knowing it, I literally couldn’t sleep. Even when for a few hours I did, it was the last thought before sleeping and the first thought upon waking. I didn’t want to pray. I didn’t want to talk to God. I couldn’t eat a good meal. My mind, heart, and soul was gripped with fear and anxiety. What will happen to our daughter now? What will happen when she gets older? Could she live a normal life? Why of all the people on earth does this has to happen to our daughter? It was really depressing.

After that fateful week, I decided to again pray. It was the most sincere, most intense, deepest talk I had with God.

From that conversation, I asked for forgiveness. God impressed to me that trials test my faith in Him, and that He uses these tests to bring me closer and closer to Him if I allow Him. It was a wake-up call.

From that point on, whenever I have the opportunity, I tell people that problems are really blessings in disguise.

What to do when something bad happens to us

The Bible tells us to face all trials and tests with joy, faith, and optimism. Jesus never told us to ask for hard times, but He did remind us that these hard times – whether physical, relational, or financial – combined with our faith in Him, are opportunities to become a more mature and spiritual person.

Whenever we encounter problems or setbacks, we must stay composed, understand why such things happened, do something about it, and then move on. A setback is usually a part of our journey toward true success.

What one bad circumstance in your life that you now realize brought you closer to God?

James 1:2-4
New International Version (NIV)

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
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