Saturday, March 3, 2012

Is your praise louder than the tornado's roar?

It is a sober morning as we wake up and as the daylight rises we see the overnight storm damage. I had a sleepless night as storm after storm rolled through, but the house is intact. I'm thankful for the Lord's protection. Now one may say, 'what about all those believers who prayed but whose homes were destroyed? Didn't they have the Lord's protection?' Yes, they did.

In my case, I prayed to the Lord for protection of my body and my home from storm damage. I have full faith and trust that He would do it, and He did.

Others who pray the same in full faith but whose homes are now rubble are also under His protection. The effects of sin in this world means that there will be suffering, but those who are suffering have a new opportunity this morning to turn to Him, and think of eternal things. It affords an opportunity for Christian ministries to minister in His name to the lost, the weak, the brethren. Living in a fallen world means bad things will happen.

I prayed for protection last night and I knew He is able to deliver it. But I did not pray, "Protect me, O Lord, for I am one of your children and You are on my side." That is testing the Lord. I know His will as it is revealed in the Word, but I do not know His will in each specific circumstance of my life. If I was to go through a trial by enduring a lost dwelling and possessions, let it be so. It doesn't alter my faith at all. When you have an eternal perspective, the temporary circumstances of my life gain their proper position. Now I'm not as strong as Paul who said of his trials, "Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:10) but his kind of attitude is my daily goal to seek and try and reach.

I think of Daniel 3 and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego standing in front of King Nebuchadnezzar, and they said, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:16b-18).

The furnace was a room sized furnace you know. Picture the men shoveling coal into the Titanic's room-sized boilers, and that was what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were facing. These furnaces were searingly hot. They were so hot that when the King ordered the furnace to be heated 7 times hotter, the men who were ordered to throw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego inside were instantly killed by the heat.

Facing that, they did not waver. They did not say, "We are faithful and therefore He will not let us come to harm." Their prayer in the face of a fiery trial was strong, with the proper perspective of understanding that it may not be His will to allow them no harm. It didn't alter their faith one bit. He knew He would cover them, but if He didn't, that was OK too. God is still sovereign.

"The proof of conversion is that he who professes faith in Jesus perseveres in faith and grows in sanctification throughout his life." ~Paul Washer

That proof is the perseverance in faith especially when storms are ripping through, when death or loss or injury come, when we can say of this trial or that one, "Lord grow me in sanctification so that You are pleased with me." Sing praises to Him who saves, in the calm and in the storm. Their faith was startling to the King, and  Nebuchadnezzar replied in a fury. But when God chose to show Himself in the furnace the men said to the King, “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” (Daniel 3:25).

The King then did what? Praised God. "Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this.” (Daniel 3:28-29)

When the storms come, sing louder, knowing that He is sovereign, and all things are working for the good to those who love Him who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28) Perhaps your purpose in your trial is simply to sing praises to him, louder than the storm, so that others may hear and believe.

9 comments:

  1. Thank you, Elizabeth, for reminding us to sing louder than the storm! I love this article; it was just what I needed today. Blessings!

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  2. what happened to Shadrach and where did Daniel come from??

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  3. Thank you Anonymous, VERY MUCH! I was thinking of Daniel the *chapter* where I was getting the verses from when I wrote Shadrach every time. Thank you again, I fixed my mistaken brain fart. Thanks again.

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  4. Thank you so much for your lovely articles, I look forward to following both of your blogs each day! All of your hard work is much appreciated and has truly blessed my life. May God continue to bless and lead you!

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  5. I appreciate all your entries. I especially appreciate this one in particular.

    So, I am wondering. Would you agree, that just because a Christian goes through a trial, endures hardship, it doesn't necessarily mean they were disobedient, or out of fellowship with God? Some people believe if bad happens to you as a Christian, that you are disobedient, and out of fellowship with God. They cite the scriptures about that has to do with God's protection, and no harm coming to a believer.

    What are you thoughts?

    J.L.

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  6. Great question J.L.

    There are several reasons why Christians go through hardship. And there are different kinds of hardships. A hardship might be discipline from the Lord; it might be a test or trial to refine us; it might be persecutions & suffering because we are Christian; or it may be temptations or attacks from Satan. Why do we go thru hardships?

    1. Jesus prophesied hardship. 1 Pet 4:12-13 "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed" and "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own... Remember the words I spoke to you; 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also." (John 15:18-20)

    2. It could be the effects of your personal sin. If a person was an alcoholic all their life, found Jesus and got saved, they may still be diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. If a person was a spendthrift all their life then got saved and follows Jesus, they may still have their house go into foreclosure. The effects of our own sins follow us in our life. Being a Christian doesn't erase that.

    3. It could be that we are experiencing the effects of living in a sinful world. We may be the best Christian we know how to be, repenting often, prayerful, loving, studious, sober. But maybe a gunman shoots us at Wal-Mart because he is an angry sinful person and goes on a rampage. Maybe we lost our house because we live in Tornado Alley. (There were no storms before the Fall) and creation is groaning for its own redemption.

    In OT times the Jews used to make a corollary between a person's hardships and their level of personal sin (think of Job's friends accusing Job). In NT times according to the Word-Faith and Prosperity crowd, we have gone the opposite way. They preach that our high faith and low sin status is shown by the amount of God's blessings showered on us. Neither are totally true.

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  7. We are all affected by choice, chance and the actions of others. Chance is governed by law and part of God's providence toward free will in an indeterminate universe. No free will is possible unless wave function is indeterminate. Law governs choice and result. God is over the final outcome in the end.

    What happens if a person smokes? They get cancer. This is taking a reward that leads to a debt and suffering. This type of suffering extends to others. What happens if a person suffers work (like an education) before the reward? The reward is earned and extends to others as well. The direction of suffering depends on choice and previous preparation. God has a choice as well in the form of providence. Some suffering comes from reward that was taken. Some reward comes from previous suffering. The bottom line is this: Suffering always leads to reward, either before or after a choice is made.

    Ultimately, it doesn't do any good to blame God for any of it. Suffering is the result of a previously set law. The law can be used by choice as advantage or detriment. In some ways, we have control of suffering by our previous choices. In all cases, God assists us along the way. Do all Americans in the path of Tornado alley have a choice to build a storm shelter or secure a plan in the event of a tornado? Yes. Is it always possible to avoid tragedy? No. Can anything be lost when God is the center of our faith? Ultimately, all is saved.

    As suffering always leads to reward, the outcome of the Tornado season is in God's hands either way. The only result can be reward and His glory. God is love and love can only give as an end outcome. What happens along the way is still love. The value at the end can easily be missed if we place our reasoning above God.

    It rains on the good and evil equally. God's law is equal for everyone and only good results can follow suffering in the end.

    Superiored blogspot

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  8. Hi SuperiorEd,

    Thank you for taking the time to comment. I'll think about what you said. But this comment I admit I don't understand: "Suffering is the result of a previously set law." Can you explain what law this is and where I can find it in the bible? Thank you for helping me understand your point better.

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  9. Thank you for your reply, Mrs. Prata. I agree with you too. I wish some people weren't so easily led to believe the opposite.

    J.L.

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