Don’t be Surprised

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Annie has only been married for a few years, and her child is just starting kindergarten, but her relationship with her husband is deteriorating. Cold war can last for days, and her husband often stays out late. Even if he comes home, he is an angry drunk. Annie is despondent. What happened to the promise of love in the beginning? Her husband seems to have changed into a completely different person.

Bob’s company is in dire financial straits and needs to lay off employees. Bob always thinks he would be fine, that he could escape this, but last week he received the bad news at work. The company only wants him to work until the end of the month. Though the company promises to give him proper compensation, Bob is mournful. All the work he has done for the company seems to have gone unrecognized and he is absolutely downhearted.

Timothy Lane, in his book “How People Change”, observes that life is never a bed of roses. He further relates that when people come across troubles in life, they usually have the following types of reactions:
1. having a longing to return to the former state, to escape the current pain.
2. blaming others, thinking it is all the fault of other people.
3. doubting God’s goodness, love, and wisdom, thinking that God is not good and not fair.

People easily remove themselves from the big picture of suffering and focus only on the environment, other people, or even blaming God. On top of that, most people do not want to admit that relationships are made harder by the wrong responses. In other words, it only just makes things worse if we do not know how to respond to difficulties in a Biblical and correct way.

When we face difficulties, we tend to be anxious, angry, and disappointed. We think that God is no longer the God of love, that He has changed, and even changed the rules of the game. But we need to understand life from Romans 8:20-22, “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”

This Scripture passage reveals three things about living on this earth:
1. We live in a world enslaved by sin. No one can escape it.
2. We are under the bondage of decay.
3. We often experience suffering like the pains of childbirth.

Understanding these concepts helps us to prepare ourselves when difficulties come in life. We can assess the situation in a better perspective and hence be able to respond in a correct way. We need to know that during the days of suffering, God’s love never changes and His promise is that He will never leave us nor forsake us. In times of trials and difficulty, He has sufficient grace to guide us, to lead us away from decay, so that we may experience the glory of freedom as children of God.

Winnie Chan, Local Preacher of Wesley Methodist Church, Sibu
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