The Hard Knocks Life: Cursed to Bless

When life is hard, wisdom can be found to help at Proverbial Thought!

Last week I began a discussion on why our lives may be hard. I started with God leading to our difficulties for the purpose of strengthening our faith and preparing us for holiness.

As I said, it had to come first, no matter how much I wanted to build up to it, because God is always involved in some way with whatever is happening in our lives.

Now, before I hear any complaints or accusations about God causing our problems, hear me out.

Living with pain

3 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon.Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

. . .

13 When they [the Sanhedrin] saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.”

18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

21 After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.
Acts 3:1-10, 4:13-22

Here is a man who was born without the use of his legs. I am sure many people told his parents it was because of some sin in their lives. I am sure many people told this man that he remained crippled due to some unconfessed sin. I am sure many people questioned God’s goodness.

Yet, what do we see here?

This man was used to bring glory to God.

By his healing, many believed in Jesus as Savior and God.

Useful?

So many people grow up in and live through horrible circumstances.

Some grow up in poverty, barely living a life as they wonder if they will eat today.

Some grow up being abused by a parent or both parents, other relatives, friends, or some authority figure(s).

Some get into an abusive relationship with another person.

Some are hit unexpectedly with an illness or injury that turns their lives upside down (See Matthew 9, Mark 5, Luke 8).

Some are hit with financial calamity.

Most who go through these ask a question something like this: “Am I good for anything?”

God says “Yes!”

God is in the redemption business. He can even redeem your pain, confusion, and loss.

God may not have been the primary cause of your circumstances, as was discussed last week, but in any event He is in control.

While that may sound like God is an evil tyrant, the truth is that He works with sinful man’s actions and orchestrates them out to His glory.

Are you useful?

For starters, you can appreciate God’s love, mercy, and grace in ways many other people miss or can not.

Secondly, you may be able to help others going through similar circumstances.

No two circumstances are identical. There will always be differences, whether great or small. However, the great connection found through the similarities offers a closeness and ability to help that few others may ever find.

Lastly, you bring glory to God!

When you believe Jesus Christ is your Savior and Lord and live a life dedicated to serving Him, you bring glory to God.

When you ease the suffering of another human being, you bring glory to God.

When you help lead another person to belief in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, you bring glory to God.

God redeems your life to use you for His glory.

Your life may be hard, but it helps you appreciate God and love Him more.

Your life may be filled with pain, but it gives you the gift of being able to help others.

Your life may not be what you would have wished, but God will be glorified through your life.

That is the highest calling one can receive. It is the greatest gift one can be given.

As Paul instructed in Ephesians 5:20, we should be “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” While it may hurt, cause discomfort, or create a living hell out of your life, God can use it for good.

Does God want you to suffer?

No. He does permit it, though, because He can see the bigger picture.

He wants you to spend eternity with Him. Sometimes, we have to go through pain to get there. (Like facing the needles to get antibiotics that can save your life.)

    • catholicboyrichard
    • March 16th, 2013

    Good as usual…a correct balance between the healing power of God and the equally healing power of suffering when united with the Cross of Christ. You should be a Catholic hehe.

    • I definitely believe in the catholic Church, therefore I am!
      I have definitely grown a fondness for the Catholic Church, and I was baptized as an infant within her walls. I have learned I know more about her than many Catholics (though still with a need to learn more, and note I did not say “most”), therefore, arguably, I am!
      I am also excited to see how things will work out with Pope Francis! I like what I have read so far about his life as Archbishop, so I am intrigued to see how well it carries over into his papal career.

        • catholicboyrichard
        • March 16th, 2013

        Yes and my confirmation name was Stephen (after the first martyr) Francis (after Assisi) so I was particularly excited about the name too. And further so as I learned how he has lived his life and I am expecting that to be refreshing. The last two Popes taught us, or re-taught us, the fundamentals of Catholicism doctrinally. This one may be the person who shows it in practicality. Obviously they each do both, but I am guessing that to be a particular gift of his pontificate.

    • catholicboyrichard
    • March 16th, 2013

    Reblogged this on catholicboyrichard and commented:
    One of my favorite brother bloggers is Daniel M Klem…a young man of God who is a poet, somewhat of a modern Francis of Assisi (not to be confused with Pope Francis hehe), and just an all-around good type of person who you would wish near you in a trial or struggle. Kiddingly (well half anyway!) I suggested he should be a Catholic due to this post. He captures the Catholic idea of uniting our sufferings to Jesus and the Cross in a very nice, simple, yet clear way. Worth a re-blog I think…

  1. March 19th, 2013

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