Strength To Endure

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October 2, 2017

Image result for photo very sick old woman

I Corinthians 10:12, 13 (Good News Bible)

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

I chose today’s featured Scripture from the Good News Bible because in this translation (and in only one other of the seventeen in my computer program) the Greek word πειράζω (pronounced pi-rad’-zo), means – according to Strong’s Greek Dictionary, “to test,” but the word is almost always translated tempt.  The translated words, to test, to try, to tempt, most often comes from the same Greek Word in the New Testament.  But in English…

•      …to tempt means (New Webster’s Dictionary), “…to induce to do something; to entice.

•      …to test means (Webster’s New World Dictionary), “…an event, situation, etc. that tries a person’s qualities.

Here is I Corinthians 10:12 and 13 (Good News Bible):

      If you think you are standing firm you had better be careful that you do
      not fall.  Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally
      comes to people.  But God keeps his promise, and He will not allow you
      to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put
      to the test, He will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you
      with a way out.

Yesterday I talked to a woman whose mother has been very sick.  It all seemed to start last year with congestive heart failure.  But the down-hill progression has lately included internal bleeding (from a nicked vein in the chest cavity while draining excess fluid – requiring emergency surgery), kidney failure, and a perforated bowel (another emergency surgery)!  This dear woman is 86 years old, and has been a strong Christian most of her life!  Her son and daughter (the one to whom I talked) are also active Christians!  She told me, “How much more of this can we take?  It is like we are living at the hospital – ten hours a day!  Doesn’t God know this is too much? ”  Being so involved with her mom, and stretched so thin, she broke down and cried.  I did not quote a lot of Scripture to her.  I gave her some pertinent verses, yes, but not much.  One I did not quote is verse 13 of our featured Scripture (this time from the New King James Version):

      No temptation [remember, it also means trial and testing] has overtaken
      you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not
      allow you to be tempted [tried, tested] beyond what you are able, but with
      the temptation [trial, test] will also make the way of escape, that you may
      be able to bear it.

God’s promise in this verse seems empty if the test you are facing seems way too heavy to bear!  And that is where this woman’s daughter and son are right now!

I am sure you have heard the saying “…head over heels…” into something.  I have another that applies to the Christian life: “head over heart….”  You see, we think of emotions as coming from the heart!  From the head is more logical thinking!  Yes, these grown children of this very sick lady are very emotionally attached to their mom.  And they have been so involved with her medical trials that they are exhausted, drained, and questioning God!  I would encourage them to think logically – “head over heart….” – at this point, instead of emotionally!  But their thinking must be from a Biblical standpoint!

•      This dear woman is 86 years old!  Maybe it is God’s time for her mortal life to come to an end!  After all, Psalm 90:10 says, “The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” (See also James 4:14, 15).

•      She is a Christian!  Paul reminds us in II Corinthians 5:6 and 8:  “…while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord….We are confident…to be absent from the body…[is] to be present with the Lord.

•      Will she lose out because of these ‘undeserved’ sufferings?  No!

      ✞      In this life, God’s goal for every believer is to become more and more like Jesus! (See Romans 8:29; II Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 4:12-16).  This growth is through trials and testings, more often than not! (See Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2-4; I Peter 4:1, 2, 12-19).

      ✞      In the next eternal phase of life, Paul confidently states in Romans 8:18:  “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (See also the August 21, 2017 blog, Gain, Loss, And Gain – IV).  And in II Corinthians 4:16 through 18 (International Standard Version):

      …we are not discouraged.  No, even if outwardly we are wearing out, in-
      wardly we are being renewed each and every day.  This light, temporary
      nature of our suffering is producing for us an everlasting weight of glory,
      far beyond any comparison, because we do not look for things that can
      be seen but for things that cannot be seen.  For things that can be seen
      are temporary, but things that cannot be seen are eternal.

•      If this dear lady passes, will the Lord sustain her son and daughter?  Certainly!  For it is written in Psalm 27:10:  “When my father and mother forsake me, then the LORD will take care of me.”  And in Psalm 68:5 God says, “A father of the fatherless [and also ‘a mother to the motherless’]…is God in His holy habitation.

•      If wisdom is needed to understand this trial, heed James 1:5 and 6!  “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given him.  But let him ask in faith….

So take heart!  And think with your head!  “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” (Colossians 3:16), and guide your life – even in extremely hard trials and testings!

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