Suffering May Come Suddenly

September 28, 2010 at 9:12 am | Posted in William Gurnall | Leave a comment
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Wisdom from William Gurnall

Sometimes soldiers do not have as much as an hour’s warning before they must take the field. And so you, too, might be called out to suffer for God or from Him before you expect it. Abraham, for example, had very little time to deal with his heart and persuade it to obey God by offering his child. “Take now thy son, thine only son, Isaac, whom thou lovest” – not in a year, not a month or week, but now (Genesis 22:2). This command came during the night and “early in the morning” he was on his way to the mountain (v. 3).

How could Abraham have handled such a shock had he not already wrestled with his own willingness or unwillingness to endeavor to be obedient to God in all things? Thus God had already had His servant’s whole heart and all Abraham was left to do was to obey. Sometimes God makes very sudden changes in our personal lives. For example, how would you receive a death bulletin like the one God gave Moses? He did not have the gradual preparation of a lingering illness but heard the message while he still enjoyed perfect health: “Get thee up… …..And die in the mount……” (Deuteronomy 32:49-50). Are we and our feet really ready for a journey like that?

But God can change the scene of public affairs as quickly as He can change personal situations. Maybe authority smiles on the church right now; yet it might frown again soon. “Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea” (Acts 9:31) – it was a blessed time for the saints. But it did not last long: “About that time Herod the king stretched forth his hand to vex certain of the church” (Acts 12:1). In this persecution James the brother of John died by the sword and Peter was thrown into prison. The entire church was driven into a corner to pray in the night; and those who had had rest on every side now were threatened by violent death at every turn. – Taken from The Christian in Complete Armour, September 21. Edited by James S. Bell, Jr. Moody Publishers, 1994.

To me this devotional reading was something good to think about. What if the time is coming when our government takes away tax exempt status from the Church? What if our government should tell pastors who they must be willing to marry? What if there comes a time when what is right is called wrong and what is wrong is called right? What if there was no political party or political action group who wanted to be associated with Bible believing, conservative evangelicals? What if there is something much more personal coming that causes pain?

Would you still praise and worship God? Would you still believe He was in control and working His plan of redemption? Would you still have a practical faith in God? How would your life change? Or better yet, what changes do you need to make now to really live as an ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ? Just something to think about.

Stay faithful and hopeful,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13; Psalm 50:23; 2 Timothy 3:1-5

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