Today we start 1 Thessalonians. – This is what God gave me today in his word:
For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved–so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But God’s wrath has come upon them at last! (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16)
Join Christianity → Say a Prayer → Let The Money ($$$) Start Rolling In! – Or maybe, depending on who you are, you’ll think: Become a Believer → Say a Prayer → Become Rich and Famous! – Things don’t work like that. Plain and simple.
But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world. —C.S. Lewis
Becoming a Christian doesn’t instantly entitle you to a house-deed, money, fame, furniture, or whatever else comes to mind which you pray for. The Jew’s crucified Jesus, and can you guess who lives in you as a Christian? Jesus Christ, by whom we are saved and for whom we are put in pain. In China or Iraq that pain may/probably would be physical, but it doesn’t have to be. The good news though, is that God will deal with them… Eventually. While we’re talking about God, why is it He allows us to suffer? Why is it He doesn’t give us everything we want, when we want it?
Which would be better for a son/daughter do you think? To be pampered and grow up getting everything s/he ever wanted. Or growing up poor, and learning to love and care for those around him/her? The answer, by the way, is number two. – God wants the best for us, that doesn’t mean he gives us what we think is best for us. He lets trails come, he lets us feel pain, so that he can (as Lewis put it) shout his will for us into our ears.
Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape. —Charles Dickens
But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, because we wanted to come to you–I, Paul, again and again–but Satan hindered us. (1 Thessalonians 2:17-18)
Paul provides a perfect example: he was torn away from the Thessalonians, thus he tried all the harder to get to them. It’s slightly different with us, but the same concept applies; the harder Satan pushes, the more we must rely on Christ’s power. This is the point: That God let’s us feel pain in order to draw us nearer to him. This may seem selfish, and it is! God is an incredibly selfish God, that’s why he sent his son to die for us! So that we can be his and his alone.
You are Loved!