Doing Life Together

IMG_4587About a month ago, I visited the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in DC. The experience was sobering, frightening, and chilling. This was clearly one of history’s darkest chapters.

At the end of the tour, I was struck by one of the survivors who spoke on video. In tears, highly impassioned, he cried out, “God where were you? Did you care? Did you listen to our pleas for help? We are your chosen people.” His pain was so raw.

Where is God when evil strikes in such an inhumane way?

During difficult or dark times, do you ever wonder the same? “Why doesn’t God take me out of this difficulty? Surely he will not let me suffer.” But Daniel 8 paints a different picture.

Daniel has a vision that later was explained by the angel Gabriel–trouble is coming. God’s people will be persecuted and even destroyed. Evil will reign and wreak havoc on the world. But at some point, God will say, enough!

The vision did come to pass, hundreds of years later.

When we suffer, it feels like God is far off. But He reminds us in His Word that He is present  and still on the throne. He hasn’t fallen asleep or forgotten us, even though it may feel that way. And that is why we can’t lead with our feelings. They often betray the truth-God promises: His presence through the dark night of the soul.

Deliverance may not come in the way we envision nor on our timetable. That’s because we don’t have the entire picture and only God knows the details of our life. We have to trust, especially when He warns us that in the last days, evil will ramp up.

But Jesus rules even in the midst of suffering. He wants us to endure, to stand in the battle and trust His timing. I’m not going to lie–this isn’t always easy. We want to be rescued from problems, suffering wiped out, and pain relieved. But the promise is He will walk through the valley and be present in our pain and suffering. God has purpose in suffering even though we may not understand it.

So what do we do to stand strong?

1) Stay in fellowship with God. The enemy’s strategy is to disrupt our fellowship through doubt, fear and hopelessness. If he can get us to doubt (it worked for Eve), he can derail us.

2) Stay in fellowship with each other. The enemy wants to sow dissent, disharmony, guilt and shame but the cross took care of these things. God’s people are strengthened when we help and encourage each other in the faith. This is why unity and fellowship are so important.

How long do we suffer? That we don’t know. But what we do know is that evil was broken by the cross. God knows and has numbered the days for evil to reign. If you are His, nothing happens to you that He doesn’t allow. And He uses it all to His glory and purposes. One day, we will be with Him and suffering will be no more. Until then, we stand.

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