Cody and I couldn't possibly have more on our minds right now. We are awaiting more results of medical tests that were performed on Cody yesterday because his health is still not good. My job is literally "on hold" as a major transition is being discussed that could have a great outcome for our family and myself... or no new outcome at all. We have started receiving medical bills from all that Cody has been through, and we feel as though the "get out of debt" plan we put together with a financial advisor just a month before his hospital stay has now been blown to smithereens. And there are times where I feel like our family life is always in the hands of outsiders - we are always waiting on other people before we can progress forward in our daily lives. Waiting to hear from doctors/surgeons/specialists, waiting to hear from employers, waiting for the next bill to arrive in the mail. I have always said I'm not one to possess much patience - for anything. Isn't it ironic that this is the one thing that God seems to be testing me on the most lately?
And this morning, I didn't do a good job of masking all my frustrations. There are days where I feel okay though all of this... knowing it's really not "outsiders" that have our fate in their hands -- but God Himself. Only He can heal Cody - not the doctors. Only He can open doors that will help me to provide better for my family. Only He can provide for us on a daily basis what we will need to keep a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. But this morning... I felt stuck in a rut of never-ending doctor's visits, never-ending hours sitting at work wondering when I'm going to hear the news I so desperately want to hear... knowing I might not get the news I'm hoping for. And this heat is making me feel like a baked potato without butter and salt; hot with no personality.
So I searched for something to set me at ease... something to snap me out of my funk... something to make me see the light at the end of the tunnel again. Even though I don't really know when this tunnel we're in is going to come to an end. And here's what I found.
How God Uses Suffering
“If God loves us, cares for us, and wants the best for us, why does He allow all this suffering that goes on in the world? He could stop it if He wanted to. But somehow, He doesn’t seem to want to. What we don’t realize is that sometimes when nothing appears to be happening, God is patiently doing His awesome work.”
Reasons God allows Suffering:
1. To get our attention. Sometimes God wants to get our attention to look to Him and pay attention to that which is important to God.
2. To develop righteousness and maturity in us. God may be in the process of building maturity in us and by allowing certain events to happen to us. He knows we’ll “grow up” and become more mature in the process.
3. To prune us. (See: John 15:1-2.) “He removes attitudes and habits that are harmful to our fruitfulness.” The whole pruning process is used by God to cut back useless things in our life to maximize our potential as Believers. He sees attitudes in our lives that don’t belong there. He prunes off what shouldn’t be there. God can’t stand stuff in our lives that cloud our vision of Him.
4. To teach us obedience. (See: Hebrews 12:5.) “Sometimes people suffer because of their own disobedience.” When we become disobedient we can expect some kind of suffering.
5. To teach us to trust Him. (See: 1 Peter 1:7.) “He tests our faith in order to strengthen it.”
6. To teach us to depend continually on His grace and goodness. 2 Corinthians 12 tells us that when we are weak, we are strong. If we want God to use us, suffering is going to be a part of our life. God uses it to teach us so we will gain wisdom. “Suffering in life and being used by God are inseparable.”
7. To manifest Christ’s life and character in us. It’s to help us to be living examples of God’s character. And God’s character shines forth in us through times of sanding, sifting and pruning. Whatever the form of suffering we encounter, there is a Divine purpose involved. “When someone meets us, they will meet the Son of God in us.”
8. To purify our hearts. A pure heart is a righteous heart—which is the will of God for us. Purity and God’s power go together. “There is no power in your ministry unless you are pure.” Keep in mind that all suffering is not a result of sin. God has a purpose in allowing suffering in our lives.
9. So we can share in the holiness of Christ. (See Hebrews 12:10.)
10. To teach us to give thanks in everything. (See: 1 Thessalonians 5:18.) “You don’t have to feel thankful to express gratitude that God is going to bring something good out of your experience.”
11. To develop character and perseverance. (See: Romans 5:1-5.)
12. To enable us to share in the sufferings of Christ. (See: Philippians 3:10.)
13. To prevent pride in our life. (See: 2 Corinthians 12:9.)
14. To broaden our ministry. (See: Philippians 1:12-13.) An example of this would be: “Going through an experience of suffering and loneliness that extended His influence.”
15. To reveal the evil nature of mankind and the righteous judgment of God. (See: 2 Thessalonians, Chapter 2.) In this chapter it says, “The wicked will be judged.”
(All of the above was found at Marriage Missions International - I have to give credit where credit is due).
I'm sure this is a blog entry I will return to and read again when I need a reminder... and I thought someone else out there might need a gentle reminder, too.
So... while we wait... we look forward to what's ahead. Good friends' weddings, football kickoff one month from today, a let down from the heat that seems to be in the works, Jaden's first day of preschool. Our calendar is filling up fast -- a common occurrence for us every year as fall approaches. We're also planning a February, 2013 trip to Disney World. Something that seems so far away now... but I'm allowing myself to focus on the "Magic." We'll be okay. And we'll keep you posted.