Are your troubles so great, your loss so unbearable it seems God isn't working in your life? Learn the comforting answer.
One of the most dreaded diseases of the ancient world was leprosy. There was no cure, and the person who contracted leprosy slowly rotted to death. It was painful...hideous...and people avoided touching lepers at all times. In ancient Israel, lepers were to announce their arrival in public by shouting, "Unclean! Unclean!"
A leprous man came to Jesus and begged Him for healing. Jesus granted the leper his wish, but the remarkable thing is that Jesus reached out and touched him to perform the healing. Jesus didn't have to touch this untouchable man in order to heal him. He did so as an act of comfort.
Are the difficulties in your life so great...the pain so deep...the loss so unbearable that you believe that you are untouchable to God? On Beyond Today we're going to talk about what you can do when life is so bad that you even feel Untouchable to God.
Are the difficulties in your life...the pain so deep...the loss so unbearable that you believe that you are untouchable to God?
As a Christian you believe that God is loving and all-powerful. But, when facing the overwhelming loss of a love-one...the termination of a lifelong career...or a personal health crisis...have you found yourself asking, "How can I trust God when many times I just don't understand what He's doing?"
Let's be honest. Many times in life, those of us who believe in God, find ourselves in situations that don't seem to make sense. Why doesn't God intervene in a personal crisis? Why doesn't God lift my severe depression? Why is a young person allowed to suffer a premature death? Has God left you in the dark to work these answers out for yourself?
How can we have faith in God when sometimes He doesn't seem to make sense? When we feel untouchable?
Let's begin to answer that question by going to Jesus' famous Sermon on the Mount where He teaches approaches to life called the Beatitudes. These are attitudes that lead to "genuine happiness." One of these beatitudes attitudes that Jesus taught us is "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
Notice that Jesus says "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." God's blessing isn't a life without loss and mourning, but the promise of comfort for those who
At this point you may be asking, "Why do I have to suffer loss? Why doesn't God, who says He loves me, save me from all the bad things that happen in life?"
How can I trust God when my life seems so difficult?
Have you ever been flipping through television channels and stopped in the middle of a movie because it seemed interesting? You try to figure out the story...but you're lost. The plot makes no sense...the characters are a jumbled mess...and soon you shut off the television in frustration.
In many ways, that's your life. You showed up in the middle of a story and it is difficult to figure out what is going on. You suffer...and you don't know why.
Here's a key to the plot.
One of the remarkable gifts the Creator gave human beings is free will. We have self-consciousness, creativity, emotions and the ability to reason and make choices. This freedom of choice means that all of us make some wrong choices. Multiply those wrong choices by billions of people...and you have the reason the world is in such a mess. Human history is a catalog of failed experiments involving governments, religions and philosophies that have promised happiness, peace and prosperity for everyone. They've all failed. The missing ingredient in all of these experiments is understanding the way of life designed by the Creator of life.
Bad things happen to all of us because of human free choice. We live in a world that is a mixture of good and evil...ever since the Garden of Eden.
Remember Christ's promise in the Sermon on the Mount: "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
To receive that comfort, you have to believe that God can help you experience comfort and peace in spite of the difficulties. That He is willing to reach out and touch you with His healing hands.
You have to believe—that if you have really turned your life over to your Creator, and you wish to live His way, then God has a greater plan for you, even though there are times when you don't understand His plan.
But, you ask, how can I have faith in God when I don't understand His plan?
The Gospel of John records a story from the life of Jesus that illustrates what we're talking about. Jesus had a special relationship with a man from Bethany named Lazarus. Jesus was teaching in another town when messengers arrived to inform Him that Lazarus was very ill. Jesus then does something that seems to make no sense—instead of rushing to the side of His sick friend, He stays away for two days. In fact, He deliberately waits until Lazarus dies before going to Bethany.
Imagine the thoughts that went through the minds of Christ's disciples. He performed miracles wherever He went, but now He deliberately delays going to His seriously ill friend.
Jesus arrives in Bethany and is confronted by Martha, Lazarus' sister. She is perplexed by Jesus' delay. His actions toward His friend just don't make any sense. Martha says to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died" (verse 21). Martha didn't lack faith in what God could do through Jesus. She was perplexed by the way God was answering, or seemingly not answering, her prayers.
Mary, Lazarus' other sister, is also perplexed by Jesus' delay and asks Him why He didn't come sooner. Jesus is so overwhelmed by the grief of those around Him that He wept.
Jesus then goes to Lazarus' tomb and prays for God to resurrect Lazarus from the dead to prove to Martha, Mary and the disciples that He is the Messiah. Lazarus comes walking from the tomb, wrapped in his burial clothes, like some mummy in an old movie.
Lazarus' death had been allowed by God as part of a greater plan to reveal the Messiah. Of course, there was no way for friends and family to understand this during the crisis. God's picture was much bigger than their immediate difficulties. And therein lies the dilemma: We must trust in God's bigger plan even though we can't always see it.
This also means that sometimes we have to accept that God's answer is "wait" or even "no." These times are the greatest challenges to our faith.
Any adult understands that "wait" is a wise response to a 5-year-old boy's request for a pocketknife even though "wait" seems arbitrary, even cruel, to the child because of his limited reasoning ability. Any intelligent, responsible parent knows that the answer to a seventeen year olds request to have her boyfriend stay overnight in her room is "no." Even though
the teenager may feel that parent just doesn't understand.
It is a quirk of human nature that we believe God's answer to our requests must always be "yes."
Anyone who works with children has tried to explain a simple concept only to have the child repeatedly ask, "Why?" No matter how many times you change your wording, talk slower or raise your voice, sometimes a child just can't understand the reality an adult perceives.
It's the same way between God and us.
He sees a bigger reality of life. He understands your personality, your weaknesses, your hopes, your anxieties and He really cares about your ultimate good. But with our limited minds we keep asking, "But why?" At some point we have to trust that our Father knows what He's doing.
Due to our human limitations, even when we trust God, there are still times when God seems beyond our reach. Our faith fades. We feel we are untouchable to God.
How do you deal with the struggle that sometimes you believe God, but you can't seem to experience His comfort? Before we discuss this topic, I want to tell you about the free booklet we're offering on today's program.
You Can Have Living Faith can help you discover the faith in God that will bring you comfort when you face those moments in life when you feel like God just isn't close by. This booklet will take you to the Bible where you can find the definition of faith and instruction in how to "grow in faith."
You can learn about the enemies of faith...worry, fear, doubt and human reasoning without spiritual understanding...and how to combat these enemies in your life. If worry, fear and doubt are keeping you from having faith...go online to Beyond Today.tv and listen to Beyond Today Radio where I interview the author of You Can Have Living Faith. We can help you work through these issues so you can experience a deeper trust in your Creator.
When you go online to beyondtoday.tv you can read the booklet You Can Have Living Faith or, you can have a free copy sent to you in the mail by calling, write this down, toll-free 1-triple-eight-886-8632. That's, 1-triple-eight-886-8632, or go online to beyondtoday.tv.
It really is free and I would love to send it to you.
Why do you sometimes feel that you are untouchable to God?
Here's the overview of the story you were born into: Human beings are made in the image of God and we are given freedom of choice or free will. Sin is any action, thought or emotion that differs from how the Creator designed life. Once sin entered into your experience, your emotions and thoughts became toxic to your own spiritual and emotional well-being. The result is suffering, broken relationships, meaningless lives and eventual death. That's the bad news!
The good news of Jesus Christ is the message of how God sent His Son to take your sins on Himself and pay the penalty you deserve. But that isn't all there is to the gospel. Human beings are incomplete creations. You need a personal relationship with your Creator in order to find purpose and happiness. You need the faith that comes from God's personal involvement in your life.
Understanding why your life is in such a mess and how God has a plan to get you out of it is the beginning of seeing His bigger picture for you. You have to accept that like all human beings, your emotions and thought processes are damaged. Only then can you begin to seek God's help in being healed.
This healing includes living the way of life outlined in the Bible. Healing of physical maladies is more than going to a physician. You must also put into action the changes needed for getting well. Spiritual healing includes accepting God's love and the incredible future He has in store for you and then living the way of life He prescribes. You have to trust in God's prescription.
Today, right now, you can begin, to view your present sufferings in the bigger picture of the Creator's plan for you.
What can you do to grow in experiencing God's comfort in times of despair? How can you, as Jesus said in the Beatitudes, be blessed when you mourn?
Many times it is easier to heal human illness than to restore damaged human emotions. When faced with terrible loss or a difficult time of life first accept that it is okay to be human. Emotions like grief are not a lack of faith, but a natural response to intense loss. Most importantly, you need to be able to pour out your emotions to God. If it helps, write down what you are experiencing and read these intimate thoughts and feelings to God in prayer.
It's not that God doesn't want to be involved—the truth is—sometimes you don't invite Him to be involved. And when you do invite Him into your life the question you honestly have to ask yourself is—do I want God in my life, but on my terms?
Let me illustrate what I'm saying from an incident in the life of Jesus.
A young man came running up to Jesus, knelt in front of him, and asked, "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?"
Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not murder,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not bear false witness,' 'Do not defraud,' 'Honor your father and your mother.' "
The young man said, "Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth."
It is recorded in Mark 10:21 Mark 10:21Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said to him, One thing you lack: go your way, sell whatever you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
American King James Version×: "Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.'"
The Bible says the young man went away sad..."for he had great possessions."
This young man wanted God's involvement in his life, but he didn't want to dedicate every aspect of his life to God. He wanted God in his life but on his terms not God's. He wanted God's healing, but he didn't want to fulfill God's prescription.
In your daily life, what are you holding back from God?
You've probably heard it said that God accepts you just the way you are. That's not true! God loves you the way you are, but He wants to make you better. He wants to heal your spiritual nature! He wants to give you solutions to your problems! He wants to comfort you in despair! He wants to change your life!
Do you trust that if you turn your life over to God that He will do what is best for you? Because if you don't, you will hold back some of your life from God. You will hide your alcoholism, your anger, your self-pity, your dishonesty, your greed, your...fill in the blank...and like the young man who approached Jesus you will walk away from God's help in your life. Because you really don't trust Him.
God isn't the cause of suffering. He is the only solution. As beings with free will, we have the opportunity to explore every possible solution to the human condition. On our own, we will continue to come up woefully short.
When you suffer, God's involvement isn't usually as dramatic or immediate as it was for Lazarus, Martha and Mary. Remember, though, that during the dark days of Lazarus' illness and death they didn't know what the outcome would be. It was a real test of their faith.
All they had during those times of despair was a faith that God had not abandoned them and that Lazarus would someday be resurrected from the dead.
Faith is more than belief in God. It is trust that He is always acting for the ultimate, eternal good for every human being. It is the trust that He is always acting for the ultimate eternal good for you. It is trust even when you are faced with difficult times, times that don't seem to make sense. He has a bigger purpose for your life! With God, there are no untouchables.
When you order You Can Have Living Faith we will also send you a free one year subscription to the Good News. This magazine contains important and relevant articles on marriage and family, what the Bible teaches about the most vital questions concerning your life, how to make sense of today's confusing world news, how to understand the Bible in the post modern society and God's amazing plan for humanity...and for you personally
Go online to beyondtoday.tv to order your free subscription to the Good News, Or, call, write this down, toll-free 1-triple-eight-886-8632. That's, 1-triple-eight-886-8632.
We also invite you to visit us on the web at beyond today.tv There you can watch dozens of Beyond Today programs and catch the weekly Beyond Today commentary. And when you go to beyond today.tv listen to Beyond Today Radio where we discuss the three big destroyers of faith, worry, fear and doubt.
We've been talking about the times in life when we might feel untouchable to God. To discuss this further we're joined by Beyond Today hosts Steve Myers and Darris McNeely.
Why does it feel like we are untouchable to God?
Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?
What do we do when we're involved in a life situation when it seems that God is far away and not interested in us?
Let's go back to the beatitudes. Share an experience that you've had when what was happening left you feeling deserted, but later you saw God's involvement in your life?
I would like to send you your free copy of You Can Have Living Faith. This booklet can help you discover the faith in God that will bring you comfort when you face those moments in life when you feel like God just doesn't make sense.
You can learn about the enemies of faith...worry, fear, doubt and human reasoning without spiritual understanding...and how to combat these enemies in your life.
Go online to beyondtoday.tv to read or order your free copy of this free booklet You Can Have Living Faith. Or, call, write this down, toll-free 1-triple-eight-886-8632. That's, 1-triple-eight-886-8632, or go online to beyondtoday.tv.
When you order You Can Have Living Faith we will also send you a free one year subscription to the Good News. This magazine contains important and relevant articles on marriage and family, what the Bible teaches about the most vital questions concerning your life, and how to make sense of today's confusing world news.
We also invite you to visit us on the web at beyond today.tv where I discuss the three great barriers to faith...worry...fear...doubt with the author of You Can Have Living Faith.
Is your pain so great that you think, "Even God can't touch me?" When God doesn't seem to be working in your life, get on your knees and ask God to reveal to you His purpose for you. You have to have faith that He will give you help! No matter what you face, no matter how untouchable you may feel, God knows how to comfort you. Pick up a Bible and begin reading the Way of life designed by the Creator. You will find with God there are no untouchables. You can find faith, hope and comfort...and God's way will lead you to true health and happiness.
Thanks for joining us on Beyond Today.