Following God's Will
It was a spectacular screenplay that swept through the world in the early 1960s. Starring Audrey Hepburn and Peter Finch, The Nun's Story was based on the real life story of Marie Habets, a nurse who was called "Sister Luke." A courageous nun, she ministered to the sick in the Belgian Congo and was deeply repelled by Hitler's Germany. The movie was released on DVD in 2006 and we highly recommend that you rent or own it - eight Oscar nominations!
Struggle To Become Obedient
Sister Luke strives to become obedient to what she perceives as God's will for her life through her church. Sadly, she compromises in the end as she understandably struggles against the Nazi occupation while her church remains neutral. But, it reveals something very important that we have mostly forgotten in our churches today: that our circumstances are given to us from God (Acts 17:26; Eccles. 7:14). We would all benefit from a systematic study of God's sovereignty over our lives.
While we must always defend those who are mistreated, it is our earthly task is to work with what God gives us and to overcome our negative reactions and those feelings that arise within us when we are faced with difficult trials. We must keep in mind that we are being "conformed into the image of Christ" so that we may "reign with Christ" in the future Kingdom (Ro 8:29; 2 Tim. 2:12; Dan. 7:27). But, it can be a painful, grueling process. That is what we are studying with our Mission residents who have been afflicted with desperate, trying events in their lives.
Stand Still&Trust God
Yes, it is exceedingly difficult! We want to cry out, "Why, Father, why?" when bad things happen to us. So, how should we respond when life turns bitter? This is what several fine authors tackle in their books about pain and suffering. Although we must always look out for the interests of others, when it comes to our own night season Missler notes that we must first stand still, stop all activity and cease striving to change our circumstances. "Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and rely upon his God" (Isa. 50:10).
Faith Choices Not Dependent Upon Feelings
Author Jerry Bridges points out that we must stop asking why and resist thinking, "If only I had done this…or that" (1988, 48). We must "view our adverse circumstances through the eyes of faith, not of sense" (18). We must cease fighting and trying to deliver ourselves from the problem remembering that, "The battle is not ours but the Lord's" (2 Chronicles 20:15).
Stop Blaming Others
We can cling to the notion that God will repay those responsible for our troubles (Ro 12:19). So we must stop blaming others for our problems. Instead, we are to pray for those who persecute us (Matt. 4:44). Finally, we are to put on the Armor of God equipping ourselves with faith, truth, righteousness, peace, salvation, God's Word and prayer (Eph. 6:11-18).
Bridges, Jerry. 1988. Trusting God even when life hurts. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.
Missler, Chuck&Nancy. 1999. Faith in the night seasons. Coeur d'Alene, ID: Koinonia House.
The nun's story. 2006 (1959). Film. Directed by Fred Zinnemann. Warner Home Videos.