When Things Don’t Go My Way

Years ago, when our family was at the mall, both of our girls used some of their money to purchase mood necklaces. They were enthralled with the way the plastic changed colors throughout our time at the mall. After a while, the novelty of the new purchase wore off and one child became obsessed with getting ice cream. We were on our way out of the mall, so the answer was, “No”, there would not be any ice cream that day.

Suddenly, everything around me stopped, while that child threw herself on the ground, screaming, crying, kicking, flailing about in displeasure.Everyone within earshot, stopped their shopping, their conversations, their leisurely afternoon, and watched our child show her extreme suffering in not getting any ice cream.

Our other daughter saw the opportunity, ran over to the angry animal on the ground and said, “Quick! Let’s check the color of her mood necklace!”

It’s so easy to see in children. The groaning, the loud breathing, the eye rolling. It always comes down to things not going their way.

tantrum-620x349

And, then comes my way, the “adult way” of handling suffering when operating in my flesh. I assess the situation, looking at what needs to change. I think about what is wrong and what I can do about it. I have a quick reaction, lacking self-control. Or, I use resources like google to search for solutions. I immediately implement the solution. My hope is that I will change the outcome and avoid suffering. But, often, this method leads to failure or burnout.

The Bible teaches us about suffering:

Colossians 1:24-27, I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

John Courson tells us to teach our kids about suffering. He talks about suffering in a sermon from Colossians:

  • Brings us closer to Christ: We can relate to God in a deeper way through our suffering. Where Was God in All of This–Part I
  •  Brings us assurance that we are saved/Godly: God in the Bible promises us that we will suffer if  we are His.
  •  Rewards we are promised/the glory that will be ours: Heaven so far outweighs the trials we experience here on earth.
  • Salvation of others: the world is watching when Christians face trials. When they see Christians holding onto their faith, still loving God, still finding peace in Him, they will be saved.
  • Makes Satan mad: we can defeat Satan by allowing God to take what he meant for evil and turning it around for our good. Where Was God in All of This–Part II

The good news throughout suffering is that Christ is in me.

Colossians 1:27, To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

When I look at suffering differently, not just something I am trying to avoid, I experience true spiritual growth. When I am not receiving suffering with an impulsive reaction or like a problem I can google to solve, I am instead allowing the Master Problem Solver to do His work. I am not facing suffering alone. Because I am a follower of Jesus, He lives in me, and I am equipped with His power and wisdom. And, the more I suffer, the more I find myself allowing more of Christ in to heal, restore and build up. This is why I rejoice in my suffering.

rejoice-in-suffering

 

5 thoughts on “When Things Don’t Go My Way

      1. Good.

        Yes, I mean it. In fact it was shortly after one such sermon given by a guest preacher at the Premier Homeless Church here in Lubbock that we started the Fat Beggars School of Prophets. So, the topic is near and dear here, alright.

        But as I said, it is vital and rare. I think I can count on one hand all the preachers I ever heard who preached it in whatever form.

        One of my favorites was an Irish preacher by the name of Jim McGuiggan. Look him up, he has a website. I think he is still alive. Anyway, he was a hero-preacher in my eyes growing up. And I finally met him when I was about 25 or so. And he offered a sermon illustration story that rocked my world that night and I have never been the same since.

        McG told of these missionaries that packed up all they had on a boat and set sail for this war-torn foreign land. They were so convicted by the Holy Spirit that they would brave the war to spread the gospel. But when they arrived, there was a blockade. The forces in charge at the port of entry would not let them pass. So the brothers decided to send one of their own to negotiate passage while the rest stayed on the boat and prayed.

        They did this day after day, but could not gain passage. Not daunted, they kept this up with hope and prayer as they watched their rations dwindle to desperate levels. Finally they decided they could only afford one more day of negotiations, if God did not open the door for them, they would have to return home.

        So that next day, they sent the negotiator to the port and the brothers prayed ever more fervently all day long and waited and waited feeling confident that God would move mountains so they could enter the land with the gospel. As the day came to a close, hope was almost gone when suddenly the negotiating brother returned to them with shouts of joy!

        “Brothers! I have good news! We will be allowed to enter this land and spread the gospel message of Jesus to these war-weary people if only we sell ourselves as slaves!!!”

        That story still gives me chills.

        X

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Bette

    Yes…..it’s good to understand that the Lord’s purpose for suffering must have a good purpose….
    eternal implications and we need to accept Romans 8:28, even when it doesn’t always seem to make sense. Thanks for reminding us Lisa….!

    Liked by 1 person

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