IOW quote for December 14, 2007
Don’t blame suffering of the world on the anger of God. He’s not mad; he didn’t mess up. Follow our troubles to their headwaters, and you won’t find any angry or befuddled God. But you will find a sovereign God. Your pain has a purpose. Your problems, struggles, heartaches, and hassles cooperate toward one end---the glory of God.” ~~~Max Lucado, It’s Not About Me
In the story of the man Jesus healed who was born blind the disciples asked the intriguing question of “who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” The answer they received from Jesus was, “Neither.” His explanation was it was done so the works or glory of God would be displayed.
At the time we are dealing with life’s difficulties we fail to see that this can be why things are happening as they are. We’d rather think that God is angry towards us or punishing us for some hidden sin we didn’t even know we committed. The last thing out of our reasoning mind is the thought that maybe this is being done so the works of God may be displayed.
That’s exactly how I felt when I found out the cause of my epileptic seizures was the scar tissue left behind from the brain surgery I had 13 years ago. A surgery that was needed to remove the blood clot my head injury in Junior High had caused. All my spiritually unsighted eyes would allow me to see was anger towards the girl who caused the injury. It was her work on display in my life, not God’s or mine. It was her that kept me from being able to work, drive my car, have the kids I planned to have, and do the things I wanted to do. Instead of waiting patiently for God to put up His display of glory all I could focus on is the display my friend from school had left me to view.
Eventually over the passing of time the Holy Spirit managed to get past my anger and show me that it was not her handy work that was on display it was mine. Because I was allowing stress to control my life it was my 90% stress seizures that was messing up my display in the window of my life. It wasn’t the 10% epileptic seizures caused by the injury. It was my attitude that was blocking God from coming in to put up His display of victory, peace, and the ability to overcome life’s struggles.
It wasn’t God that messed up, it wasn’t the girl on the bus that goofed things up for me, it was what I was doing with what life had handed me that was all wrong. God wasn’t out roaming the streets of Powell Butte Oregon trying to find someone to strike down in His anger to fill a quota He had set for Himself. It was I, totally I, and my attitude that needed to change.
It’s hard to imagine that our pain does have a purpose. The very pain I felt when I lost my job, then had my driver’s license taken away, told never to have kids, and eventually be declared disabled had a reason, a rationale behind it. The purpose wasn’t so I would have a reason to vent my anger towards the world and a girl who didn’t even know I came down with epilepsy. The purpose was that God’s glory would be displayed in my life and I must admit it has done just that.
Going to the headwater of my hurting and difficult times I found me awkwardly trying to put up a display that wasn’t working. How God was able to get in when I kept blocking the door in a “its all about me” kind of attitude still amazes me. I thought I would never be able to bloom where I was planted as the world and its dirt had me buried or so I thought. What was happening was the soil or the pain and struggles I was buried in would serve as the garden where the seed of God was eventually going to grow.
Closing thought: As our problems, struggles, heartaches, and hassles cooperate toward one end---the glory of God its important that our attitudes and actions don’t slow that process down. Having a plaque on display at the front of your life’s window that says, “Display done by the courtesy, grace, and love of God” is something to be proud of. Endure the pain, work your way through the struggles the end display is worth it when you have God working in your life. As the old saying goes, “please be patient with me God is not finished with me yet!” Praise the Lord for the right display! The display of God at work in our lives.
Our host this week is Hopeful Spirit so go on over there at On the Horizon to see what others have on display for this weeks quote from Max Lucado.