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suffering with a purpose

March 25, 2013

“Now Elijah the Tishbite was a prophet from the settlers in Gilead.  ‘I serve the Lord, the God of Israel,’ Elijah said to Ahab.  ‘As surely as the Lord lives, no rain or dew will fall during the next few years unless I command it.’ ” (I Kings 17:1, New Century Version)

I learned by reading the footnotes in the Full Life Study Bible and the Life Application Study Bible that the message of no rain until Elijah said otherwise was a direct attack on the god Baal.  It was believed that Baal was in charge of producing rain and bountiful crops.  God is a jealous God.  He will not allow us to believe that anything or anyone is our provider.  If He has to remove that supply or person for a short time, He will do it.  So Israel’s God, Who was being ignored, removed their food in order to get their attention.  Was there suffering as a result of having their food taken away?  Yes. Was all that suffering necessary?  Obviously the Father thought so.  Look at a good parent with happy, well-adjusted, well-behaved children.  Do the parents let them do whatever they want?  No.  They punish them in the way they choose in order to deprive the child in order to alter their behavior.  Their reasoning is that they are looking ahead to the future of their children.  Our Father is no different.  He will say no to something when it’s best for us in the end.  Is it fun?  No.  That’s why it’s called suffering.  Just as the child goes through necessary suffering to produce a well-rounded adult, God looks ahead into our future and says, “No, you’re not going in that direction.”  And He puts us in time out so we can think about the situation.  Whatever source or person we’re depending on other than Him will be removed because our Father is looking ahead at what is best for us.

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From → Elijah, hard times

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