When you were a child…
Did you learn how to ride a bicycle? Did you ever fall and skin your knees or elbows?
Did you ever play sports? Did you get hurt, scraped up, bruised, broken bone?
Did you ever go to other places and have friends? Did they ever say anything that hurt you or caused you worry, angst or sorrow?
If any of these things happened, you must have had horrible parents, right? I mean, wasn’t it there job to keep you safe? Wasn’t it their job to protect you and love you? Wasn’t it their job to keep you from pain and hurt, either physical or emotional?
Other than some people who are either in denial or came from a very broken household, we know this is ridiculous. Normal, loving parents want their children to be safe and secure and protected. Parents hurt when their kids hurt. Parents cry when their kids cry (maybe later, but all the same). But normal loving parents also want their kids to grow and mature. They want their kids to be strong physically and emotionally. They want the best for their children.
To do this, they have to allow their kids to enter into calculated risks. The parents still go first, scope things out, do all they can to limit the scope of the risk, but they don’t eliminate it. Eliminating the risk is to live in a bubble. Eliminating the risk is to limit growth.
God loves us enough to do the same. Jesus came to earth and experienced absolutely every temptation and hardship ever known to man – and overcame them all. Not so that He could prove He was perfect – He was perfect and was not subject to judgment by anyone else. No, He did it as a gift to us. There is no temptation that cannot be defeated, with Jesus. There is no hurt or pain that, with Jesus, cannot be overcome.
Because of this, if we accept Jesus as our loving parent, He gives this gift to us. He doesn’t hold us back from temptation and hardship – He doesn’t lock us into a bubble. Instead, He goes first. He scopes out the situation eliminating all unnecessary risks. He stands by us. He guides us through the difficulty so that we can grow and become more Holy and more like Him.
That is and Awesome Parent!
Psa – failing heart but strength in God – physical strength is insufficient in comparison to God’s might
Prov – Discipline and rebuke are acts of a loving father who delights in His son
Rom5 – Suffering->perseverance->character ->hope … builds strength
Rom8 – as co-heir of Christ => sharing in suffering -> sharing in glory
Rom8 – All things (suffering included) are used by God to transform His beloved to be justified & glorified
Phil – In light of the worth of Jesus, all worldly possessions and prizes are but junk
Heb – suffering is a means to distill perfection (refinement), Jesus underwent it for eternal salvation
Not to question or doubt the existence of God, but to question or doubt my thinking about who I thought He was and how I thought He should act – there have been times of question of why those who seek good suffer while those practicing evil flourish and prosper, there have been times when I was angry with God and more when I was impatient with Him, “how long, Lord…?”