Prayer And Thoughts For Shut-Ins
Christians need to remember to pray for those friends and acquaintances with illness that confines them at home, and for their Care-givers. As we were recently reminded by Praise And Prayer Alert: we should make a time to at least call those associated with our church fellowship to see how they are doing; keep them updated on events they might like to know about; offer to run a few errands for them; maybe offer to stay with a shut-in so their Care-giver might get time to go somewhere; etc.. There are many dear ones among us and everywhere, who are suffering diseases such as cancer, heart problems, MS, Parkinsons, mental problems, etc. God expects us to show care for these. They must not be neglected. [adapted from Praise & Prayer Alert]
THE SUFFERING SAINTS
[Letter adapted here to avoid references and for ministry]
You seem to have a good understanding of this matter of trouble and suffering for saints of God in this world, though it is something of a mystery to us all. Yes, that is a universal question ---quandary: why do the righteous suffer? There are some nice thoughts on that often shown in ministry papers by faithful writers. We know God loved the man: Job, but he suffered much until he learned and owned the valuable lesson God had for him (and for us) ---i.e. don't boast in one's righteousness and works, be humble and realize that we are all sinners at heart, and our flesh will always rise up and act if we fail to confess our failures. Saints of God need to "bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ", as the Apostle Paul said. God told Paul that "My grace is sufficient for you", rather than make things all better for him. At least it kept him humble and dependant on God, which proved good for him.
Suffering really accomplishes more than we normally know here in this world, I see; and one thing often is manifest, which is our natural sinful nature which needs God's disciplinary help to overcome. God created mankind as His children to love Him and learn to obey for goodness, rather than have more Angels who always obey and have not the liberty afforded to mankind. God knew full-well what would happen when man was given freedom to choose what he would do. Satan, who as the fallen foremost Angel (before the "elect angels" were sealed), was allowed to represent all the darkness and hurts of the flesh. He was allowed to go forth as "the god of this world" to try and prove man. He always works to deceive, discourage, and dissuade man to go forth with all confidence in self. We have the liberty to choose God, and if we don't we will continue in the condemnation of the natural flesh. That is eternal "damnation" for lost souls, and much loss of rewards for saints at the "judgment seat of Christ" in heaven.
All Scripture shows God loves man greatly and cares, yet there is trouble to deal with, and even untimely death for some saints (seemingly untimely). Real "born again" believers (John 3) are sometimes put in "the furnace" of trial to mold us; yet, when we look back over our life we can often see how God has preserved us, provided, and strengthened us. The saints can see that God never deserted us though the way was hard. Again, Job said he was willing to die if that is what God was going to do to him, but he said I will not disobey and turn from my God. In the end of trial he prospered greatly.
We can see more today that the world is declining for many reasons, and as the population increases things are getting worse ---I call it a "prelude to the end". Years ago I used to think that things would continue fairly well in this poor world until the Church --Bride of Christ, is taken out, then severe judgment will fall. That is partly true, I believe, but I now see the Church as experiencing increasing trouble and judgments, and the Bride will finally begin faithful crying in devotion "...come Lord Jesus" (Rev. 22:20).
For years christendom has been saying it is our job to improve this world and make it a wonderful place, and I always thought that is contrary to what God says often about the fallen and evil way of the world; and He is calling His saints out from it's ways. The saints are not of this world, but citizens of Heaven. I have often thought that some faithful saints might have a ministry of suffering as their calling in service for the Lord --- for their own good, and blessing to others who pass their way or learn of the burden the believer is faithfully enduring.
In some countries in the world I think God brings down judgment on them for it's evils, which also troubles the saints there (which I feel is happening more in all lands today). If He allows a saint to live they are helped through it all and can look back later on the mercies ---though to die is Heaven for the saints. Of course we know there is much profession of a faith and determined new life in God by many people, who actually show no true life in the Lord Jesus, the Christ of God (note 1 Jn. 5:10-12) --just religious people who believe about a god.
Well, look up always, friend, and stay in communion with our blessed Savior --our Lord Jesus, and all will truly be well.
- Yours by grace, RLD: SD-T; 04/14; add: 01/18.