Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 19 Number 10 October 2017
Page 12

Adversities, Afflictions and Attitudes

Raymond Elliott

Raymond ElliottWe are often overwhelmed with the adversities in life that are very difficult to accept and hard to understand. At such a moment, it seems that all is loss, that life is not worth living and that our sorrow is too much to bear. No doubt, Job felt this way when he experienced the tragedies in his life.

The problem is with our perception of matters. We deal more with the immediate and not the overall view of life. That which is seemingly against us at the present may, in fact, work out for our good. The Psalmist declared, “Before I was afflicted I went astray; But now I observe thy word.” Again he wrote, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; That I may learn thy statutes” (Psalms 119:67, 71). The Psalmist had lived long enough beyond his traumatic experiences to grasp the significance of his sorrows. Not all men are able to perceive the silver lining amidst the clouds of despair. As finite beings, we are so limited in our knowledge, and we often fail to grasp the ultimate reasons for our conflicts and sorrows in life.

In contrast, the infinite Heavenly Father, who is from everlasting to everlasting, is able to see the panoramic scene, and in His great providence, He is powerful enough to ultimately work out everything for our eternal welfare (Romans 8:28). It is a real challenge to our faith in God to seek the lessons to be learned from our failures, our injuries and our losses in life. It isn’t necessary that we fully comprehend nor is it even possible that we always understand the tragedies that we may experience. However, it is important that we trust in God, knowing that He cares for us and that He can overcome evil with good. In all his grief, Job expressed himself in this manner, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him…” (Job 13:15).

Let us remember that afflictions, sicknesses, tragedies and death come to all men—saints and sinners. It is important, therefore, that the children of God understand that it is our acceptance of these experiences and our attitude toward them that distinguishes us from the people of the world who manifest no faith or trust in the providence of God. The unbeliever’s heart is often hardened when calamities come his way. In contrast, the believer’s heart is made more sensitive and responsive to God’s design and purpose in the perplexities of life.

We are like small children in our understanding, and we should place our trust in our Heavenly Father even as David did when he wrote in Psalms 131, “Jehovah, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty; Neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too wonderful for me. Surely I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with his mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in Jehovah from this time forth and for evermore.”

We all have no doubt heard the expression, “The same sun that melts ice, hardens clay.” Adversities, sorrows and heartaches in life will have different effects on various people. It depends largely on the recipient. In John 6:66-69, after some hard sayings of Jesus, we read, “Upon this many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Jesus said therefore unto the twelve, Would ye also go away? Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we have believed and know that thou art the Holy one of God.”

Disciples of Jesus who really trust in Him have no one else in whom they can find refuge and strength in the times of trouble in this life. So, whatever sorrows and afflictions may occur in life, it is to Jesus that we must go. He is the Great Physician, and there is healing in His wings.

A Holy Priesthood

Mark McWhorter

Mark McWhorterJesus is the High Priest for Christians (Hebrews 4:14). Since He is the High Priest, there must be a priesthood. Peter tells us that Christians are the priesthood.

“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). God has said that He is holy, and therefore, we should be holy (Leviticus 20:26). Since we are a priesthood, and we are to be holy, we are a holy priesthood.

What do priests do? Under the Mosaic Law, they were the ones who put sacrifices on the Altar. They presented all sacrifices to God. Christians present sacrifices to God as well. Yet, these are not physical sacrifices. These are spiritual sacrifices. It is spiritual sacrifices that God wants now. Further, God the Father accepts only sacrifices made through Jesus. This means one must be a Christian to make sacrifices.

This holy priesthood was prophesied. In Isaiah 61:6, we read, “But ye shall be named the priests of the Lord: men shall call you the ministers of our God…” This demonstrates that the church made up of Christians is the plan God had. The church is not something that God decided to make because His original plan failed. He had His prophet Isaiah tell about it.

Study your Bible. Learn how to be a Christian. Become a holy priest of God. If any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.

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