A Little Rain Must Fall
By Dr. Sharon Schuetz
One of the most important lessons Christians can learn is that life is not fair. Sometimes we wonder why God allows us to go through painful struggles instead of protecting us from them, or routing us around them. The Bible says that it rains on the just and the unjust alike. This is true. Even the men and women who appear to have no problems and seem to live a fairyland existence, have their own share of conflict.
Paul says that we are tempted in the same way that everyone else is tempted (1 Corinthians 10:13). All men share common basic drives and struggles. The cry of the human heart is, "Please, love me and accept me". Even the CEO of the top Fortune 500 company has this basic desire beating at his core. The most cold-hearted despot, who may be personally responsible for millions of deaths of his own fellow citizens, has a small cry, deep, deep, down inside, occasionally escaping his control. It does not rise often; however, it will occasionally haunt him.
Why does God allow one to go through the grief of losing their entire family in a single, fatal crash, and another never to experience the ache associated with such tragic, heartrending loss? Why does it seem like everything one person touches turns to gold, and everything another touches turns to ash? So many unanswered questions.
Whatever the reason for such inconsistencies, two things are certain. The first is that nothing can enter into the life of God's children without his prior knowledge and consent. God is always aware of our circumstances. He allows certain things into our lives for our benefit. Although it is hard to understand how tragedy or abuse can benefit us, it is important to understand things from God's perspective.
God does not want bad things to happen to us. He will allow situations to occur, however, if it will teach us important lessons necessary for our future, or to prepare us for what may lie just ahead. He knows our tomorrow and our next week. He has planned our entire future. This is how we can know God's will for our lives.
Paul assured the Corinthians that God would never give us more than we can handle. Never has the Christian reached the "end of his rope" that God did not provide a little more rope, or at least tie a knot in it for us to hold on. He will not necessarily take us down from the rope. He will give us what we need, however, to sustain us as we hold on.
In looking to God, we can draw what we need from him to make it through each day. He does not give us tomorrow's reserves today. He gave Moses and his follower's manna for each day while they were in the wilderness. They had to gather fresh manna every day. As we occasionally go through things, we find ourselves gathering manna many times throughout the day, rather than just once.
Habits, thinking patterns, and strongholds can be so powerful in our lives that our reliance on God must be continual. Sometimes we must get five minutes of strength just to get over a rough spot. God is faithful to bring us through any circumstance, regardless of how it looks. We can be confident that whatever we go through during our sojourn here, God has allowed it for a reason, and he will sustain us through it.
The second certainty is that God will use anything that happens to us if we will let him. Romans 8:28 is an important source of strength when we go through trials. It tells us that all things will work together for our good. Regardless of what happens, whether tragedy or misfortune, we can be confident that God will use it for our greater good, if we will allow it.
Most ministries come from people who have suffered some form of pain. These people understand what it is to hurt. Their compassion is real, tried by fire. Many times after we look back over the experience, we gratefully thank God for it. We can see what He has done in our lives and through us in the lives of others.
When a freak boxing accident blinded an athlete, the doctors told him, "You will never see again."
The social workers said, "Learn Braille, stay home, accept the fact that you will be dependent on others for the rest of your life."
Nevertheless, Morris Frank fought to regain his independence. The result was the development of "The Seeing Eye"--the organization that trains seeing-eye dogs for the blind.
Although it is not always easy to explain or accept, adversity has an important purpose in a Christian's life. Paul Claudel said, "Christ did not come to do away with suffering; he did not come to explain it, He came to fill it with His presence."
Dr. Sharon Schuetz is an ordained minister and has been in ministry with her husband, Michael, for twenty years. Dr. Schuetz has a PhD in clinical Christian counseling, and both she and Michael are licensed to counsel through the National Christian Counselors Association, Sarasota, FL. They have two sons, one daughter, and six grandchildren. You can write to Dr. Schuetz through the Letters page of this magazine.