Can God cause good to emerge from suffering?

This article is a short note I made while reading “The Case for Faith” by Lee Strobel, pages 72-73. I’ve included it here in the hope that others might find it edifying and comforting too. It certainly rang true to me. Here then are my notes:

Several years earlier, Marc had been shoveling snow on his driveway when his wife said she was going to move the car and asked him to watch their young daughter. As the car backed out, they were suddenly thrust into the worst nightmare that parents can imagine: their toddler was crushed beneath a wheel.

Like the African woman, Marc has known what it’s like to hold a dying child in his arms. While I wasn’t able to converse with that grieving mother, I could converse with him. So deep was Marc’s initial despair that he had to ask God to help him breathe, to help him eat, to help him function at the most fundamental level. Otherwise, he was paralyzed by the emotional pain. But he increasingly felt God’s presence, his grace, his warmth, his comfort, and very slowly, over time, his wounds began to heal.

Having experienced God at his point of greatest need, Marc would emerge from this crucible a changed person, abandoning his career in business to attend seminary. Through his suffering – though he never would have chosen it, though it was horribly painful, though it was life-shattering at the time – Marc has been transformed into someone who would devote the rest of life to bringing God’s compassion to others who are alone in their desperation.

In the pulpit for the first time, Marc was able to draw on his own experiences with God in the depths of sorrow. People were captivated because his own loss had given him special insights, empathy, and credibility. In the end, dozens of them responded by saying they too wanted to know this Jesus, this God of tears. Now other hearts were being healed because of Marc’s having been broken. From one couple’s despair emerges new hope for many.

“Sometimes skeptics scoff at the Bible saying that God can cause good to emerge from our pain if we run toward him instead of away from him,” Marc said. “But I’ve watched it happen in my own life. I’ve experienced God’s goodness through deep pain , and no skeptic can dispute that. The God who the skeptic denies is the same God who held our hands in the deep, dark places, who strengthened our marriage, who deepened our faith, who increased our reliance on him, who gave us two more children, and who infused our lives with new purpose and meaning so that we can make a difference to others.”

Now some scripture passages the Lord brought to mind concerning the above that I wanted to share with you:

Come, and let us return unto the Lord:
for he hath torn, and he will heal us;
he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.
(Hosea 6:1)

God meets us in our broken places.

The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart;
and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
(Psalm 34:18)

Love is the key:

For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
(Galatians 5:6)

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A Good Quality of Life

Unshakable Hope

I’ve been thinking a lot about quality of life issues lately. More specifically, I’ve been trying to figure out why some people that (in the natural) possess virtually everything we think would make for a good quality of life, yet they’re miserable. Conversely, many others have almost none of the ingredients that we think must be in the mix for a good quality of life, but they seem perfectly content.

I think about this issue more and more as life with ALS becomes an even greater challenge. If ALS takes its natural course, the victim will die of respiratory failure. The muscles needed to breathe become weaker and weaker to the point where you just can’t breathe anymore. Oftentimes the flu or pneumonia are just too much for those with advanced ALS and can speed up this respiratory failure.

I had a severe case of the flu in February, and…

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How to overcome the world

1 John 5:5
Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

The Spirit of Truth quietly brought three Holy Scripture passages to mind this morning. There is great hope in adversity, though I understand from my own experience that maintaining this hope can be a challenge. If you are a believer in Christ, and you are suffering, this should give you great encouragement because you have been counted worthy to suffer for His sake:

Hebrews 2:10
For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Philippians 1:29
For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;

Revelation 2:11
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

Revelation 2:11, given above, is said by the Lord in the context of the Church of Smyrna, who is instructed by Him to: “…fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

So we are to endure until the end of our lives, no matter what, and only then will we be saved spiritually.

Other Holy Scripture verses on overcoming the world:

1 John 5:4
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

Revelation 2:7
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Revelation 2:17
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

Revelation 2:26
And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

Revelation 3:5
He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Revelation 3:12
Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

Revelation 3:21
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

Revelation 21:7
He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

Now for some essays on this site giving hope and encouragement during adversity:

1. Songs in the Night
2. The Joy of the Lord Jesus

Finally, remember these next passages, as they will give you great hope. God will help you carry your cross daily if you continue trusting in Him:

Hebrews 13:5
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.

1 Corinthians 10:13
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

My testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ, who has the power and wisdom of God

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

I have testified on this website that I have suffered from demonic attacks since 2004. Shortly after the attacks began, I had two strange experiences, on two separate occasions, that I wanted to recount here for the edification and comfort of others. I am certain I am not the only person on earth who has been afflicted with demons, so wanted to offer what hope and consolation I can at this point in time to others. At any rate, the experiences both occurred during dreams.

In the first, I partially awoke to a demon attempting to pull something invisible out of the centre of my chest, right over my heart. Though there was a pleasant sensation to what he was doing, I knew that it was wrong spiritually so spoke up immediately. I said, “No, stop!” The fallen one asked, “Why?” To which I replied, steadfastly, “Because I don’t want to be open to ANYTHING.”

At this moment the demon was blown back away from me, as though by a mighty wind. I was astonished to witness this in my dream and knew without a doubt that God had honoured my decision to keep protecting my heart spiritually. This was what I wanted to make people understand and be comforted by: that God is merciful, has unlimited power over demons, and will honour our spiritual decisions.

The second incident I wanted to talk about occurred a few months later (to the best of my recollection), while I was struggling to find my childhood faith in the Lord Jesus Christ again. I was, again, being harassed by demons in my dreams when, suddenly, a calm and familiar male voice spoke from behind me. I couldn’t see who spoke but I remember his words. He simply said, “Make the sign of the cross.” I suddenly felt empowered or inspired spiritually within my dream and found myself saying, “In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost” while crossing myself.

Again, to my awestruck eyes, I saw ALL the demons blown backwards into the distance as though struck by a tornado. I am 100% convinced the Person who spoke was the Lord Jesus, who saves to the uttermost those who call upon Him in faith (Hebrews 7:25).

Some Holy Scripture passages glorifying Christ and His power that seem pertinent to the above testimony:

1 Corinthians 1:18
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:24
But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

1 Corinthians 2:4-5
And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.