Every year, I’ve decided that I will do something that deepens my faith and fellowship with God. I usually sign up for a class / study group which stretches me and allows me to go deeper in God. Last year I did something called “Relate”, a course which explores relationships and it transformed my mind and life. It was simply beautiful. It taught me to appreciate being single [love it actually], the importance of singleness and fellowship with God, highlighted the importance of walking in purpose, and of course, what dating, marriage and everything in between means from a biblical perspective. Though relationship focused, it genuinely transformed my mind. I loved it.
This year, I’m doing a study on “Experiencing God”. It was designed by Henry and Richard Blackby. It is designed to help you deepen your fellowship with God and learn the key principles required to experience Him in our daily lives. It helps a person shift their perspective from focusing on religion and to look towards fellowship. On Saturday, the pastor said something profound – God does not need pain to make you great. That really had me thinking deeply. I was like huh? What about Joseph? Jonah? David? Oprah? Barack? Michelle? Sheryl? Tumi? The list is endless. They all had their fair share of pain. I have had my fair share. So if God doesn’t need us [or even want us] to experience pain, why do we go through it?
He went on to explain that in the Our Father prayer, it says “May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Let me explain why I’m saying this. “As it is in heaven” – God’s will is NOT for you to experience pain and be miserable. He is not a narcissist. He doesn’t get excited seeing you or me suffer. That’s not a loving father, that would be a horrible horrible person. He’s not that. However, when God’s desires are declared on heaven, they do NOT automatically happen on earth. Think of it this way, there’s a vacuum in between the heavens and the earth. His will in heaven, can only manifest on earth through a means.
So I asked my pastor, okay cool beans. He doesn’t want me suffering – or anyone for that matter – so why am I suffering? Why do I cry myself to sleep sometimes and he sits and watches? Why? I don’t get. You see, in scripture it clearly says that God has dominion over the heavens and man has dominion over the earth. Let’s see it:
“God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”” Genesis 1: 28 (NIV)
Now, back to man and dominion, when God gives, he usually does not revoke. He gives, and he doesn’t take it back [usually]. This statement isn’t just a statement. God doesn’t give suggestions, He gives commands. He commanded us to take over the earth. Now think of it this way, if your boss gave you a task and said take ownership of this work stream would you not be annoyed if this boss came and tried to control every single thing that he / she said you could have control over?
Furthermore, remember that there are good forces and evil forces. Besides man’s dominion over the earth, evil forces are CONSTANTLY at work to make sure the good things spoken in heaven do not manifest on earth. What do you think the devil, demons and all those creeps get up to? Dude, that’s their job.
My point is: Man controls the earth. So though he has beautiful plans in heaven, they cannot translate on earth without man’s cooperation and willingness. Plus, evil forces work to ensure man never sees or understands the good plans he has for us in heaven. That’s why people say when you don’t have knowledge, revelation or understanding of God’s plans you’re in the dark. You’re blind.
That means because man controls the earth, given how life works and the selfish nature of man, we will all experience our fair share of being cheated on, of tears, of hardship, of difficulty etc. But that doesn’t mean we are screwed. Not at all. I say this simply to give you more faith and hope. Remember the vacuum I talked about? Let’s go back to it. So you see, to fully get the beautiful picture we need to ask God to help us. To align us to people that will favour us. To reveal to us his beautiful plans. To give us knowledge of the beautiful plans. To give us favour THROUGH the pain. The only way we can do this is through prayer. Prayer IS the vacuum. It’s the only way that gap is filled. It is the vacuum.
Now back to the pain. One thing I know is that every tear I shed, God flinches. He does NOT like seeing me cry or be in pain. How do I know this – Lazarus’ story:
“Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”” John 11: 35 – 36 (NIV)
Each tear you shed makes Him flinch. So what’s the best way to move forward?
Acknowledge that God doesn’t want you to suffer
Look to Him and play his words back to him.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29: 11 (NIV)
Tell him you KNOW he doesn’t want you to suffer. So He should give you a heart that knows though you go through trials, He is in the boat with you. He will lead you through
3. Pray. Trust. Fellowship. Have faith.
I told this story to paint a picture of what I believe goes on in the simplest terms. Prayer will never take away all the opposition we will face. What it will do is give you strength and lead you to the place of alignment where God can elevate you. He doesn’t want you to suffer.
Have faith in him. Have faith that He loves you.
I’m so excited to share what happens to me at the end of this!