Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Seeing Good

We all face dark days and want to give up when we can no longer see the light, but if you are fighting the good fight you do not give up even when the “going gets tough”, you push on! We all are broken sinners, which makes it difficult to stand firm in your faith without God's constant support and mercy he freely gives us. We must always find the goodness in every situation, even in the midst of suffering and pain, it took me awhile to learn how to do so.

Caught In SIN 

There was a time in my life when I was in a very bad place because I was in constant sin, which was naturally followed with a lot of discontentment. I was living for myself, and I did not really even know what my purpose in life because I felt very empty inside. I was entangled to my sin, and I was constantly searching for fulfillment. I sought satisfaction to my discontentment through a lot of heavy drinking while partying along with unhealthy relationships with guys. I was striving to be happy but only plunging deeper into sinful misery. I could have chose to let go of my negative entanglement of sin; however, I chose not to see the good in anything because I felt bogged down by my mistakes, regrets, which gave me no hope for anything good in my life. I was completely blinded. We find in Hebrews 12:1 exactly what we should do when we feel trapped, “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

Blinded by Sin

 I was in desperate need of a savior, but surrendering was not easy, change is never easy.  I could not see any goodness coming from believing that God wanted to pour out his grace to me because I did not feel worthy of it, but grace is receiving something that you do not deserve. I just did not want to accept something that I did not feel worthy of. Pretty dumb. However, God made it clear to me that I did not have to continue living in the dark, he worked on my heart by pushing me to accept his grace. He also made it clear that I needed to take responsibility for my life. I could no longer blame other people or my “misfortunate luck” as causing factors of my failure and suffering. I realized I could either chose to get it together and move forward, seeing all the good that I could see at the time or I could continue driving myself further into the darkness of my miserable life that I was living. 

Connections to Job

In the Old Testament we find Job in the middle of a bad place in his own life, “I am disgusted with my life. Let me complain freely" (10:1).  Job's story is much different from my on story because I was in the midst of suffering because it was self-inflicted; however, Job's suffering was not his own fault. Job had lost his wealth, children, and health. He was very upset and expressed his emotions like any human would normally do, likewise I finally expressed my suffering to God even though I had caused it. I was in at similar boat as Job because my emotions were very in line with his emotions of pain and suffering. No matter the cause of suffering it will eventually lead to death if it is not handled correctly, you will become so absorbed in self-pity you will become very unhealthy in your choices and actions.

I chose to move forward, and I started pulling myself from all of the negative influences and surrounding myself with more positive influences. During this changing process, I moved backwards and forwards in my faith for awhile, I was not grounded. As we look back to the story of Job we find him asking why me and he constantly was pleading his innocence to his friends. His friends were convinced that there was some great sin that was causing his suffering.  His friends tried to point out to Job that he did need to repent of sin, and that his view of God was very narrow-minded. One of his friend's, Eliphaz, tells Job the following which is truth, "submit to God, and you will have peace; then things will go well for you. Listen to his instructions and store them in your heart. If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored--so clean up your life (22:21-23 NLT)." In another encounter, Job's friend Elihu speaks truth, "He (GOD) gets their attention and commands that they turn from evil. If they listen and obey God, they will be blessed with prosperity throughout their lives" (36:10-11 NLT). 

Finally, God answers Job in a whirlwind with a series of questions. . . 

"Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words?
Brace yourself like a man, because I have questions for you, and you
must answer them. 

Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell me, if you know so much.
Who determined the dimensions and stretched out the surveying line?
What supports the foundations and who laid the cornerstone as the 
morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?
Who kept the sea inside its boundaries as it burst from the womb,
and as I clothed it would clouds and wrapped it in thick darkness?" (38:2-9 NLT).

God is Good

How powerful is that? Changes your perspective on the greatness of God, just a bit does it not ?! God's view of suffering is that it causes us to trust him for who he is, not what he does or does not do. Job finally repented, but not for hidden sin that his friend's were insisting that he repent of, instead he repented for questioning God's sovereignty and goodness. In conclusion, God points out that Job's friends were wrong for judging him without knowing what God was doing. However, God did bless Job with a fruitful life after his confession. 

Likewise, I asked for forgiveness for not trusting God and believing that he was Almighty in power to save me; however, I also repented of all my known sin that I caused because I was living for myself and my desires. Since that point, I strived to be obedient and see good and positive aspects of my life. I started making new friends who are still are strong influencers on my life right now, and I started seeing life with a totally new perspective.  I am able to love others in a way that I have never be able to love. When before I was very closed up and I did not know how to show affection to others; however, since then I have noticed that I have compassionate heart ready to pour out into my family, friends, students, and even strangers. I am able to love in this way because God points out the good in so many people, things, and situations in my life because, he has removed the “blinders” and I am no longer narrow-minded to a negative outlook on life. 

While I still struggle, sin, and face suffering, I direct my motives and questions to “what is this doing to help me grow in my faith’ and I keep in mind that God is GOOD and cares a great deal for me. While sometimes we do not understand his reasoning he must endure suffering whether we bring it on by our sin or it comes unwanted. Just know that he reigns ALMIGHTY in power and he is GOOD all the time !! He will bring good things out of your suffering if you choose to see the good and keep hope for the future, HE has made a promise to you, "For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope" (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT).

Much Love To Y'all :)

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