Monday, April 3, 2017

The Lord Gives and The Lord Takes Away



And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, 
which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, 
that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, 
but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
Deuteronomy 8:3


Welcome back to my series on trials and suffering.  Two weeks ago I wrote about being in a Season of God's Discipline which you can read about here.   Last week I wrote about how Christ shares in our sufferings which you can read here.   This week I will be talking about God's activity within our suffering.

I don't know about you, but when I am in a season of trial or suffering, I see it as something good that has been taken away from me, whether it be my health, a relationship or peace of mind...  Resentment begins to build and my sole focus is on my suffering rather than the One who lovingly ordains all that touches me.

And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job?"
Job 1:8a

In the story of Job, we see the breadth and width of human suffering all wrapped up in one person.  He experienced financial loss, suffered the unbearable loss of all of his children and he suffered physically as well.

Yet none of this happened to Job without the consent of the Heavenly Father.

Buy why??  Why would God allow so much suffering to come to one person??

You have heard of the steadfastness of Job,
and you have seen the purpose of the Lord,
how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.  
James 5:11

So that the Lord can show His compassion and mercy.

The Lord brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts...  Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste...And the Lord turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts and cast them into the Red Sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt.
Exodus 10:13, 16, 19

God's Word tells us to...

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
And let steadfastness have its full effect,
that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:2-4

Indeed, the Lord is NOT taking good things away from us through trials and sufferings, but is filling us up so that we will be made perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

One of my favorite activities as a child was to play in my sandbox.  I can still remember the feeling of the fine white, cool sand between my toes.  One of the games I would play with myself was to see if I could move my hands fast enough to dig a well in the sand before the sand would start sliding back down, refilling the space I was trying to create.  And I was never able to it!

Likewise, when there is a small cut on our arm, we may blot it to stop the bleeding, but the area quickly refills with blood.

The next time you are suffering through trials or have suffered a loss, remember that like the hole I was trying to create in the sand that kept refilling, the Lord may be creating a space in you that only He can fill.  Like the lifeblood that continuously refills a cut, the Lord continuously fills us with Himself, His Love and His promises, through every aspect of our suffering.

Psalm 107 is a song of praise for God's loving activity in all human suffering.

May we sing with the Psalmist...

 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever!
2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
    whom he has redeemed from trouble[a]
3 and gathered in from the lands,
    from the east and from the west,
    from the north and from the south.

4 Some wandered in desert wastes,
    finding no way to a city to dwell in;
5 hungry and thirsty,
    their soul fainted within them.
6 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
7 He led them by a straight way
    till they reached a city to dwell in.
8 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
9 For he satisfies the longing soul,
    and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

10 Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    prisoners in affliction and in irons,
11 for they had rebelled against the words of God,
    and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
12 So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor;
    they fell down, with none to help.
13 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
    and burst their bonds apart.
15 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
16 For he shatters the doors of bronze
    and cuts in two the bars of iron.

17 Some were fools through their sinful ways,
    and because of their iniquities suffered affliction;
18 they loathed any kind of food,
    and they drew near to the gates of death.
19 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
20 He sent out his word and healed them,
    and delivered them from their destruction.
21 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
22 And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
    and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!

23 Some went down to the sea in ships,
    doing business on the great waters;
24 they saw the deeds of the Lord,
    his wondrous works in the deep.
25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
    which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26 They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths;
    their courage melted away in their evil plight;
27 they reeled and staggered like drunken men
    and were at their wits' end.[b]
28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
29 He made the storm be still,
    and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad that the waters[c] were quiet,
    and he brought them to their desired haven.
31 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
32 Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
    and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

33 He turns rivers into a desert,
    springs of water into thirsty ground,
34 a fruitful land into a salty waste,
    because of the evil of its inhabitants.
35 He turns a desert into pools of water,
    a parched land into springs of water.
36 And there he lets the hungry dwell,
    and they establish a city to live in;
37 they sow fields and plant vineyards
    and get a fruitful yield.
38 By his blessing they multiply greatly,
    and he does not let their livestock diminish.

39 When they are diminished and brought low
    through oppression, evil, and sorrow,
40 he pours contempt on princes
    and makes them wander in trackless wastes;
41 but he raises up the needy out of affliction
    and makes their families like flocks.
42 The upright see it and are glad,
    and all wickedness shuts its mouth.

43 Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;
    let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.


Indeed the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, but what He takes away will be refilled with all good things in Christ Jesus.

Please join me next week when I will conclude my series on trials and sufferings and talk about the rewards of suffering.


And after you have suffered a little while, 
the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, 
will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 
1 Peter 5:10



You might find me on these link-ups:
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25 comments:

  1. Thank you for your encouraging post! I enjoyed it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Julie, You are very welcome!

      I'm glad you did!

      :-)

      Delete
  2. I LOVE this thought...that the things taken away in our suffering could be making a spot for GOD to fill with His goodness and more of Himself. In order for Him to increase, we must decrease, and there must be less self on board. The Scripture at the end of your post reminds me of my precious mother...she used to quote that to me so many times when I was going through a hard place. Thank you for sharing your precious heart here, sweet friend. Sending much love and gratitude your way!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Cheryl, Thank you so much for sharing such a precious memory of such a Godly mother; a legacy that is so evident in your own life my friend.

      You are so welcome. Your encouragement always spurs me on. You are such a dear blessing to me.

      Praying you feel God's presence and comfort this week.

      Sending you love and blessings,

      Delete
  3. Such a good, hard truth! He makes beautiful things and writes a redemption story through all of our days --the 'good' ones and the hard ones! Great post!

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    1. Karrilee, Indeed!

      And thank you for your kind words. :-)

      Delete
  4. Amen! God can use all things for good.

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    Replies
    1. Heather, Thanks so much for stopping by.

      I appreciate it! :-)

      Delete
  5. This is exactly what my husband kept our focus on last year this time, when we lost our baby in a miscarriage.

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    1. Lisa, Awe. I'm sorry to hear about your loss, but praising God for a husband who kept both of your focus on the God of All Comfort.

      Delete
  6. Such an encouraging post, Karen! And the Psalm was perfect. I'm so glad He is with us in our sufferings and He will fill us with good things. Blessings to you! I'm your neighbor this week at #TuneInThursday. :)

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    Replies
    1. Gayl, Praising God you found encouragement here. :-)

      Amen!

      Blessings to you too! Thanks for stopping by. :-)

      Delete
  7. "creating a space only He can fill." So wise, Karen. Thank you for this. Blessings on your weekend!

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    Replies
    1. June, You know, when those words popped into my head, I was surprised at myself knowing it was the Lord who showed me this.

      All praise and honor to Him.

      You are welcome.

      Blessings to you too!

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  8. So true, He is creating a space in my life too that only He can fill. Thanks for linking up your thought-provoking post on the #LMMLinkup this week.

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    Replies
    1. You are very welcome Mary. Thanks so much for stopping by. :-)

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  9. Amen. It's not easy when we're going through a season of discipline--but every such season I've gone through has brought me closer to Jesus.

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    Replies
    1. Indeed! Same for me! The Lord redeems everything that touches our lives bringing us closer and closer to Him.

      Praise God!

      Delete
  10. I react this way too: "I don't know about you, but when I am in a season of trial or suffering, I see it as something good that has been taken away from me". It have learned to see (through hindsight) that every trial is forming a character that is more compassionate and a heart more not less understanding. It is this that is a comfort. Thank you for sharing on the #sundaythoughts link up!

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    Replies
    1. Jamie, Thank you so much for sharing in the conversation. I appreciate it so much!

      You are very welcome!

      Blessings,

      Delete
  11. It is amazing when facing a trial or what we deem a tragedy and we wail with suffering, or at least it is to me that when the dilemma is over it is like an 'Awe...I see what you did there and the relief is such joy and it was as if the suffering was not really that bad after all. Enjoyed reading. :)

    Peabea@Peabea Scribbles

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  12. Hit post too soon. God has a way of soothing many of our trials but as you say and scripture says, we do have to go through some. :)

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    1. Pea Bea, I appreciated so much your thoughts and kind comments. Thank you so much for sharing here.

      Blessings,

      Delete
  13. Karen - I am so sorry, it has taken me a whole week to stop by and comment from #TuneInThursday linkup last week. I was away at a Conference since last week and the wifi was practically non-existent.

    Yes and amen - what He takes away, he will refill again and again and again.

    Again thank you for linking up last week, and I hope to see you today at #TuneInThursday

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    1. No worries Debbie. :-)

      Thank you so much for your sweet efforts to comment. I appreciate it so much!

      Linked up and enjoying the fellowship! :-)

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to comment.