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Tue, Feb. 25

Calvary Corner<BR>Bible gives specific signs of Tribulation

QUESTION:

I have lived to see my children die. How can I be thankful to God for that?

ANSWER:

I wouldn't dream of saying anything to you like, "the pain will go away," or "I know how you feel," because for now it won't, and I don't. I am sincerely sorry that this has been your experience. In Luke 4:18 Jesus the Messiah quoted Isaiah 61:2 declaring He is the one who can comfort those who mourn, and heal the broken hearted. Although this is a fallen and imperfect world we live in, I still know that Jesus Christ is everything we need for life and godliness; especially in our perplexity and pain (2Pet 1:3).

God does not ask us to be thankful for all things. We are not called to be spiritual masochists who enjoy the suffering of this life. Look closely at what God declares to us. "In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1Thes 5:18). "In" everything is not the same as "for" everything.

I cannot thank God for all the conditions around the world; the poverty, the holocaust, daily deception or starvation. The bible indicates that when wars and rumors of wars increase like birth pangs, it is a signal of the imminent return of our Savior, Jesus (Mat 24:8). I then am thankful His dominion will soon manifest. Thus I am thankful in, but not for those things.

The Yad Vashem museum in Jerusalem honors Corrie Ten Boom for helping the Jews during the holocaust of WW2. She suffered greatly in the nazi concentration camps and after her release, one of her torturers asked forgiveness. Looking into his eyes she remembered the horror and death of her sister, but then declares, "the will can function regardless the temperature of the heart." A current of reconciliation from God flowed through her as she extended forgiveness, noting to forgive is to set a prisoner free, and discover the prisoner is you.

Only God can make a heart like that. She did not thank God for the suffering but could thank Him in it. Romans 8:29 declares, "whom He foreknew He predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son." Conforming often occurs through suffering. A ball of clay, smashed and squeezed on the potter's wheel, often becomes an expensive vase.

Because of sinfulness in this world, tragedies occur. Insurance companies erroneously use the term "acts of God." Regardless, God in turn can use our horrible experiences to get our attention, draw us close, and mold our hearts to be more like that of Jesus Christ; who was "rejected and acquainted with grief" (Isa 53:3).

This is a sensitive issue and I hope I am not misunderstood. Down the road, when the time is right, you may consider 2 Corinthians 1:3-4: "The God of all comfort who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort others."

Jesus is the only provision for guaranteed eternal life (Rom 10:9), and can wipe our tears away (Rev 21:4). May the God of peace that passes understanding, guard your precious heart and mind through Christ Jesus. If you have not yet surrendered your life to Jesus, it is not too late. He is waiting for you right now. Jesus never fails.

(Huck Kusner pastors the Calvary Chapel Church in Black Canyon City. To submit a question or for information, write Pastor Kusner at The Calvary Corner, PO Box 1816, Black Canyon City, AZ 85324. Email is blackcanyon@calvarychapel.org.)

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