Two friends sat at a table. One drank coffee, the other a diet coke. Herman says to Ralph, “Did you hear that our friend Freddie is going through a terrible trial?”
“No,” Ralph replies. “I wonder if he sinned and if God is punishing him.”
The next week they’re talking again. This time Herman is drinking diet coke and Ralph is drinking coffee. Ralph says to Herman, “Did you hear about Daisy? They say she’s got cancer.”
“Well, you know how gossipy Daisy is. I won’t say she’s being punished but, well …” Herman says to Ralph.
The next week both of the friends are drinking coffee. “Did you hear about Fred?” Herman asks. “Lost his job. His wife left him and he found out he’s got athlete’s foot.”
“Do you think he did something to make God mad?”
At the end of the month the two get together again. Herman says to Ralph, “The doctor says I’ve got a terrible disease.”
Ralph says to Herman, “I lost my job.”
Both of them wail in unison, “What did I do to deserve that!”
Is God Evening Up the Score?
Often in the face of trouble, there is a sneaky little voice that whispers that if something goes wrong in someone’s life, divine justice is evening up the score.
Do people reap what they sow? Yes. But, it’s not always down here. And honestly, if being perfect would fend off problems, most of us don’t have a lot of hope. We’d be limping and listing if every mistake or character flaw (or sin), led to the hand of God being unleashed against us.
Can I fling a radical idea out into the atmosphere? When someone has a problem could it be because he’s doing things right?
It happened to Paul.
“Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
‘My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
‘My strength comes into its own in your weakness.’
“Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. 2 Cor. 12:7-10, the Message.
Paul had a thorn because he was going so deep into the mysteries of God, that the Lord allowed a trial to help him keep on even keel. He had problems because he was doing well.
Two things really bothered me during my childhood and adolescence. If I could have changed them I would have done it in a heartbeat. It still hurts a bit even now, after all these years when I think about it.
When I look back, though, I realize that these things helped shape me. What hurt so bad back then, no longer has the power to cower me. Especially since I‘ve grown in the Lord, I’ve been able to place these things in perspective and grow through them.
These things kept me from being all I could be in the Lord until I dealt with them through prayer, through serious consideration and through talking with others. I considered how they made me sensitive to others who hurt and made me more apt to help.
Paul touched God three times in prayer, begging him to take away the thing that was hurting him. But, God answered, “no.” That thing which weakened Paul caused him to turn to God in His weakness. And He had access to God’s strength, which made him stronger than he ever had been before.
Even in his weakness.
A curse was changed into a blessing.
It still hurts a bit when I think about these things. If I could go back and change it, would I? Maybe. I’m human. But have these trials become blessings in my life?
I think so. The comfort and healing that God gave me stayed with me. I can use it to help heal others by loving and serving them.
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.” (2 Cor. 1:3-5, New Living Translation)
The scientist Katharine Hayhoe said, “If you begin a conversation with, ‘You’re an idiot,’ that’s the end of the conversation, too.”
Two cannibals are eating a clown. One says to the other, « Does this taste funny to you?”
Photos: Pixabay.com–Cuncon, Geralt; Boss Fight