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Suffering

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Carol Hill writes

One thing I’ve been aware of lately is the number of people within ECB who are really suffering. There are family problems, health problems, work problems, financial issues, the list is endless. The truth is life is often full of difficulty, and one of the fundamental questions people ask is ‘Why me?’.I suppose the answer is ‘Why not you?’.

The question of how we handle injustice and strife is an important one. When Peter and I were going through some difficult times Psalm 73 provided some perspective for us. It is a lament written by Asaf, and worth reading prayerfully. He writes:

1 Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
3 For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

God IS good, but he is not exclusively good to US. We live in a world where the sun shines on both the wicked and the righteous, and trouble happens in much the same way. (Matthew 5:45) Attitude of heart is key to our inner peace.

Verse 44 says: But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

There is something about praying for those you don’t like much that does something to our spirits. We begin to see God’s perspective on things.

And if your troubles are not specifically related to the action of others but life itself, then ‘lament’ is at our disposal. Psalm 73 is extremely relatable! This was written before Christ came and Asaf almost seems to revel in the eventual downfall of the anonymous ‘wicked’. But God can hold our anger, disappointment and frustration. We can lay all that pain out before him and he will draw close.

We can see that in the final verses:
23 Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

So, if you are in a place of struggle, please draw closer to God, not further away. He won’t reject you and He will give you the ability to endure. It’s a promise…