Echoes From the Campfire

We should have talked about dignity and freedom; those things count for more than money.  Money’s soon spent, and when it’s gone it leaves no mark.  But when a man loses dignity, that leaves a mark on him that stays.”
              –Elmer Kelton  (The Day the Cowboys Quit)

    “Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.”
              –Psalm 22:1 (NLT)
If God is in charge why do I suffer so much?  Now, one thing for sure, suffering is a matter of perspective.  I’ve heard people moan and groan over life and I have to raise my eyebrows and wonder why.  The last decade or so, I heard kids continually moan about how bad they are treated and that their life is so tough.  It makes me wonder even more as they profess Christ.  Then there are those who may really suffer trials and yet they always carry a smile and continue going forward.
    Look at the words of the Psalmist:

         “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?
          Why are You so far from helping Me,
          And from the words of My groaning?
          O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear;
          And in the night season, and am not silent.”
                   –Psalm 22:1-2 (NKJV)

Maybe that is the way you feel.  These verses depict Christ, but we surely, at times feel the same way.  But look around you at all the evil.  There are homeless, hungry, disease-ridden, and refugees from war-torn areas.  
    This makes the incarnation and the coming of Jesus to this world all the more amazing.  “The more I see of the real world, the more I see the amazing implications of the incarnation of God in Christ.  To enter our kind of world from His kind of world, even for a moment, is beyond our comprehension.” (Stephen Brown)  As a Christian we need to have some knowledge of God, and therefore, we must be in His Word.
    First of all, we do a disservice to tell new converts that now they will have fewer and smaller problems because they are Christians.  That is totally false.  Life happens to all, but there is a major difference.  We serve God, the One who is in charge.  People who become a Christian with the idea of no problems have an attitude and mind-set that are not based on reality.  There seems to be the idea that as followers of Christ we have a right to live in a world without any hurt.  In fact, the Bible teaches the opposite.

          “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you”
                   –1 Peter 4:12 (NKJV, also see John 15:18-20; 16:33)

    Why should we think that life would be full of roses and that we could just go our way tip-toeing through the tulips.  For often life is a walk through a forest of cholla and cacti.  But Christ is with us and the blessed Holy Spirit.  The false theology of Christians not having to hurt has probably caused more hurt and confusion than anything in Christianity. (Brown)  Because we are not in the Word, we have not taken the time to examine the “whole counsel of God.”  “The Bible teaches power under pressure, not power without pressure.” (Brown)
    Listen!  The chief end of our walk with Christ is not our happiness, but His glorification.  Perhaps one of the reasons that new believers fall by the wayside is due to untruthful expectations.  Listen!  We are not “unloved” because we suffer, in fact the opposite may be true; it may be happening because we are in God’s will.  I remember a former principal, that whenever “bad” things began to happen that it was always the devil fighting.  I mentioned to him that it may be because we were not doing things “right” or that we were right in the middle of God’s will.
    One other thing I have learned.  Don’t go to the Book of Job for answers as Job is a book of questions.  When God began to answer Job, He answered Him with questions.  He showed Job the majesty of His being.  Job should actually be a book of comfort for in it we see something of what might be happening in the spirit realm.  Never for a moment forget, that God is definitely in charge.