i had planned on doing a blog on what we talked about at priority tonight anyway, but in light of the recent changes in the future of our country, i feel like i must stress one of the statements made tonight. our country is much too prone to put all of our hope into the man (or possibly in the future, woman) who will be living in the white house. we put our trust into them and believe that they will either fix or break our country and our future. but instead of a new president, what our country really needs is God. we are putting our hope into a man instead of putting our hope and faith into God. we are not depending on Him. no matter the outcome of this election, whether it was the man you wanted to win or not, ultimately God is in control. He is the one who is holding our future in His hands. and if our hope is in Him, "...we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him" (romans 8:28a).
besides that little tangent on politics, tonight at priority we talked about pain. suffering is not an option for any of us, it is inevitable. we are all going to suffer at some point. we are all going to have some form of heartbreak.
in the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. we do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. and He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose. romans 8:26-28
sometimes, the times we face are so difficult that we don't even have the words to express it in our prayers to God (verse 26). but why pain? maybe pain is the only language that we can understand. God wants us to claim Him in the good times as well as the bad. it's so easy to call on God when you are in trouble, when you need help with a certain situation. but it's also our tendency to drift away from God when everything is going smoothly. but God doesn't want that. He wants us ALL the time. and if we only depend on God when our lives are falling apart, then how do you think He is going to let your life be?
"blows and wounds cleanse away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being" (proverbs 20:30). maybe God uses pain to show us our true nature. we should welcome these things because it shows us what is wrong in our life and what we need to change. it's like the gold refiner. he puts the gold into the fire to purge away all of the impurities. he continues to stick the precious metal into the fire until he knows that it is pure. and how does he know that it is pure? he knows it when he can see his own reflection. likewise, God does this for us. He uses our circumstances to shape us and teach us, He uses our pain to purify us until we are a reflection of Him.
"consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perserverance" (james 1:2-3). maybe God uses pain to prepare us for heaven. God uses these things in our lives because He is more interested in our character than He is our comfort. life is a temporary assignment, it is a test of our faith. it is to see if we can learn to love God while we are here, and in that, to begin to long for heaven. this world is not our home. so many times we think that this is it and this is what we are made for, but it's not. our hope isn't in this world, it is on the other side.
however, one condition to all of this. pain doesn't make any sense at all unless you know Jesus Christ. we have to realize that we don't have it within us, that we must fully trust and rely on Him.
which, ultimately, brings me full circle. instead of worrying about what will happen with our country in the future, we should be praising God that He is in control. instead of bashing obama, we should be praying that he makes decisions for our country based on what God would have him do. and if none of this should go the way it needs to or the way we think it should, we should take comfort in the fact that we are God's children and that He has a grand plan in store for us, no matter the pain we go through before we get there. one relient k song i love is very fitting for the end of this post: "remember, the end will justify the pain it took to get us there."