There were times when the thought of giving up tried to overwhelm me. It was a difficult enduring the infamous church splits, injustices, slanderous gossip, poverty, and broken trust by numerous people that we thought were friends. There were many more afflictions and harsh situations that I will not mention because they pale in comparison to what the Believers are suffering and have suffered in other nations. I only state these few incidents to help folks understand that I do not speak from a life on easy street.
Being in church leadership can result in some very harsh experiences. It is not fair and other than being a grumble pot of negativity the only other option is to complain to God about the unfairness of it. Really? The fact is that life is not fair, people are not fair, adverse church situations are caused by unfair people and those situations do not always end fairly. There are few people in Christianity with the character and integrity to stand firm for what is right no matter what the cost. It will leave a pastor alone with no one but his family console him. They cannot minister to his grief, but he must minister to them in his grief.
It is a chaotic world with many disordered individuals who are much more responsive to satanic influence than they are to the Holy Spirit. They are not spiritually stable or even clean, so they can be used as tools of Satan to harm God’s people. However, they dwell among us without compassion and assemble with us as spots (spiritual lepers) among our feasts of charity (Jude 1:12).
But becoming bitter and soured with self-pity, and turning to the world system for the substance to ease the pain and misery of unhealed wounds, and giving up, is wrong for one great reason. It is blaming God for something that Satan and/or satanically influenced people did. If you want to talk about unfairness, that’s about as unfair as it gets.
God did not promise us an easy stroll through life until we reach heaven’s gates. He warned about tribulation, about ungodly people, about satanic attacks, about personal failures, and more. But He said that He would always be with us. But if we push Him away because we are hurt and sullen from we suffering, then He cannot help us.
The fact is if you are right now in a place of discontentment because you think that you paid too great a price to obey God, Satan has you right where he wants you. He has you dangling over a chasm of dark self-pity mixed with petulant resentment toward God and has handed you a knife to cut the rope.
Please bear with me as I present some clear and piercing truth. A true Christian’s life consists of one battle followed by another. We live in constant victory because we win most of them. The ones we lose we submit to God and He gives us the victory. There is a vast difference between winning and being handed a victory. While both can build your faith, the former does much more to build faith than the latter.
However, we want God to hand us every victory. He tells us to fight the good fight of faith. But the influence of the Prosperity Gospel has today either openly or subliminally contaminated our belief system. It leads us to believe that God would do all the fighting and win while we have a good time. We can go down that road to the point where we believe God should do everything for us as a supernatural puppeteer, pulling all our strings and leading us woodenly through life. That’s not going to happen no matter how much the lying teachers claim that it is.
Beloved, He called me to preach, but He does not move my lips and tongue or vibrate my vocal cords. He called Jonah to prophesy to a wicked people, but as if he was an autonomous prophet, Jonah tried sailing away from God. We are called and chosen, and that is God’s part. Our part is to be faithful. To be faithful means that we must fight the good fight of faith. The weapons of our warfare are not things we shout about in a church meeting or brag about when everything is going well. They are what we launch against the enemy of God and His people each time he raises his flag in our territory.
There is no victory without a battle even when God hands it to you. Someone must fight—either Him or you. There is no battle without wounds. We are too human and flawed to consistently fight a perfect fight of faith. But we also have the human flaw of magnifying the wound so that it is larger than the victory. Then we infect it with self-pity and blame God because we have no balm or bandage. He has the balm and bandage, but He also has some fire for us. Some wounds can only be healed by fire.
Here is an illustration may help to understand. History records that in certain cultures, long before the discovery of infection-fighting medicine, people did not know how to cure an infection. They often had to cut out the infected part or even remove a member to keep the infection from spreading. However, someone discovered that searing the wound would kill the infection. They knew how to treat a burn and bring it to healing, but not an infection.
Sometimes we need fire before we get the balm and the bandage. God will not overpower our free moral agency to heal the infection of our self-pity and resentment, but He will sear it with fire if we fall into His care in complete surrender and faithfulness.
The easiest thing to do is to complain and give up. It does not require any skill for a fighter to lose by quitting.
“But I’m tired of fighting and tired of the suffering.”
We all get that way, but blaming God is not the path to overcoming those sentiments. Instead, we must trust Him to be as faithful and just as His word declares. He said, “I AM” and He is.
Instead of making our light afflictions (compared to martyrdom) huge and impossible mountains, turn them into prayer requests that Christ will intercede for us before God.
I read once where someone wrote, “People stumble over pebbles, not mountains.”
Yes, we cow down before mountains when we should look up higher and bow before God. Don’t give up—give in to God’s love and care.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18