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God "Toys" with Us?|
Q. I'm almost embarrassed to ask this question. It seems like God is just "toying with me." We own a small business. For several years I have been praying that God will make our customers pay us for the work we do. Also it just seems harder to get work. Contracts fall through and the order gets delayed. We are reaching the point of desperation. Any advice?
Many in the same Boat
I don't know why this is happening to you specifically - but it seems like many we know have the same problem. You aren't alone. Each of us needs to be honest with each other and with God.
Listening to Him
Remember this: God knows exactly what and how you feel. There is no point in trying to hide it. The first thing to do is tell God how you feel. Then "listen" for His answer. It may unfold over a period of weeks or months. In fact, I am still learning and hearing from God about this issue.
Unemployment stats Skewed
For one thing, I wonder if our economy is as good as we are led to believe. For instance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says unemployment is fairly low - in the 9% range. Yet, we know that people who have lost their jobs are taken off of the unemployment list after awhile. It isn't an honest assessment.
Furthermore, the number of homes in foreclosure is rising at an alarming rate. Even our Treasury Secretary Bernanke warns that foreclosures and a poor real estate market will continue into this year and next.
Many people in their late forties and fifties are being "bumped off" of affordable healthcare. If you have anything wrong - and I mean anything - your premiums are "jacked-up" to ridiculous levels or you are denied insurance at any cost. High blood-pressure, a non-cancerous polyp or cyst, arthritis, or a pre-diabetic diagnosis can render you undesirable to insurance companies. It is a disgraceful situation. Even those without "blemish" are paying about $1,000 monthly or more just because they are in their fifties. Hopefully, this will change in the near future.
Energy companies have raised rates consistently. Food costs are rising. Fees are tacked-on at banks and brokerage firms. Postal stamps are constantly changed to higher rates. College tuition is rising at a scary rate each year. Airline and hotel costs are becoming unaffordable to many. Like "garbage," citizens are exposed to "feeage" by every service out there!
Too bleak a Picutre?
Okay. What are we to make of all this?
First, we need to face reality and remember that there is a behind-the-scenes evil ruler who controls unbelievers (Eph. 2:2), who accuses believers (Rev. 12:10), who is a murderer and a destroyer (Rev. 9:11, who is intrinsically evil (John 17:15), who is a liar and who perverts the truth (John 8:44), and who entices people to sin (Matthew 4:3). He is like a "puppeteer" who master-minds the workings of the world.
We don't fight Humans
We need to remember that "the whole world lies in the power of the evil one" (1 John 5:19). He is the "prince of the power of the air" (Eph. 2:2). He "prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour" (1 Pet. 5:8). In fact, we don't really fight against humans. Our enemies are from the supernatural world (Eph. 6:12).
Forces aiming to Ruin your Life
If you are a true believer who tries to live a godly life, you are Satan's choice morsel to devour! Nothing will come easily for you all of the time. While there will be joyful times, life will also be a series of struggles and disappointments. Satan will try to find ways to ruin your life. Count on it.
"Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2 Timothy 3:12).
This is a fact. Scripture says so. All - everyone - each Christian who tries to live for Christ will experiance some form of persecution. I can't figure-out why so many American preachers are caught-up in "wealth and health" prosperity preaching. Maybe it works for them. Who knows? If it does, is that a good thing?
Why doesn't He end it?
So why doesn't God put an end to these horrid circumstances?
Because He does not want to lose one soul who will believe in His Son. He "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4).
He isn't slow to change things. Rather, He is "patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (2 Pet. 3:9).
Why all the Trials?
Why is He subjecting us to these trials? Why can't He just step in and change things for the better? Doesn't He love us and want us to live rewarding lives?
We are Training for Reigning
God tells us clearly that "If we endure, we will also reign with Him" (2 Tim. 2:12).
The Lord is training us for reigning! We are learning valuable skills for our future job. It's painful and rough now. But, it will lead to developing character and qualities we need in the future.
Christ's special Metochoi
"For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end" (Hebrews 3:14).
"Partakers of Christ" means the "metochoi," or the companions of Christ - those who have shared in His sufferings who will become His future servant kings.
Joseph Dillow concludes,
"The metochoi of King Jesus then are His co-heirs in the rulership of the messianic kingdom. They are those friends, partners, and companions who have endured the trials of life, were faithful to the end, who will therefore obtain the inheritance-rest. The danger in Hebrews 3:14 is not that they might lose their justification but that they might lose their inheritance by forfeiting their position as one of Christ's metochoi in the coming kingdom. It is to help them avoid this danger that the writer applies to them the lesson of the failure of the exodus generation to enter rest. They too are in danger of not entering into rest" (2006, 105-106).
Conclusion for Christians
To summarize, more than anything I want to develop those qualities valuable to my Lord in a future kingdom. If we need to develop trust, faith, and endurance to do so, then I will try to learn obedience and faith now. I must trust Him to build those character traits into my life through testings and through difficult circumstances.
Benware, Paul. 2002. The believer's payday. Chattanooga, TN: AMG.
Dillow, Joseph. 2006. The reign of the servant kings. Hayesville, NC: Schoettle.
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