I can't count how many times my dad used to tell me the same story. "When I was your age..." or for those cuban readers, "Esto no pasaba en Cuba..." My father had always been someone who enjoyed passing on wisdom. I remember I used to tell myself I would never be like my father, well here I am, sharing his wisdom and also sharing the wisdom that my Heavenly Father gave me. My dad makes me laugh when he makes his Cuban references, however, let's look past the reference. Our parents grew up in a different time. They weren't spoiled by technology as we are today, they actually had to do a lot more. Imagine living without a computer, or a cell phone, or even a TV. You can't imagine life without it, however, our parents spent most of their lives without any of these things, and they made out just fine.
When they raised us, our parents did so by taking the things they had gone through, and imparted in us the wisdom and knowledge they gained as a result of their trials, so that we might not stumble. Now imagine how effective that message would have been had our parents not experienced anything? In order for us to use God's words to comfort others, we must experience that same comfort, because then, it is a sincere and real comfort that truly reflects the love of Christ. 2 Cor 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
We don't just have our parents to look to for advice, and sometimes we as sheep need an example of our issues and how to go about solving them. For us, God isn't enough at times (wow we suck). Well God, being amazing, lets us know that we are not alone in our struggles. Men and women just like you went through the same things you are going through now. We have, as Hebrews 12:1 puts it, a "great cloud of witnesses" surrounding us. What do I mean, well take Paul, Moses, or Elijah. Elijah shot fire from heaven and days later ran like a dog with his tail between his legs for fear that the queen would kill him. Could you imagine, fire from heaven, and yet, he still feared? Puts things into perspective, eh? You are not alone in your daily battle, your daily race, where we all must die daily to ourselves.
Want more perspective? Think your life is bad, have you considered God's servant, Job? Yeah you knew it was coming, and you have James to blame! James 5:10 "My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. 11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful."
Now think for a second, like our parents without technology, Job didn't have the bible. He only had his faith in God. Which in reality is what we have, however, we also have the bible to go with it. When Job was around, he didn't have the book of Proverbs for wisdom, didn't have Psalms for comfort, didn't have the gospels, didn't have Paul's letters, didn't even have Exodus, yet he lived a godly life, even in the face of being tempted and tormented by the devil himself. That puts perspective on our lives doesn't it?
I started reading Job this week due to my early week state of depression. Man did that change quick. I felt like a fool. Here I am complaining and growning about my life, bible in hand, and Job, bibleless, being tried by the devil himself, stood firm. That isn't to say Job didn't hate what he was going through, the man spent several verses cursing the day he was born. None of us enjoy going through trials, however, all things are for God's glory and that is something we need to recognize.
When you study material, how do you know how well you know the material? A test of course. Upon completion of that test, and you successfully pass it, how does that make you feel? You walk out like a champ! Same thing applies to our walk with Christ. James tells us to count it joy when we go through trials (James 1:2-4), why? Well how else are we going to learn how to have a deeper faith? How else are we going to learn patience? How else will we learn to be humble? To trust God more?
So what does God have in your life right now that seems to be killing you? How are you viewing it? Take a different spin on your trials. I know I have been. I need to go through doubts, I need to worry, I need to be attacked, so that God might guide me through it, and in the end, when I have made it through the trial, I can turn around and look at Him, saying thanks, knowing that He has undeniably stretched out His hand and helped me. I don't want trials, but I do want to grow. Bring on the cutters God, clip my useless branches...
Job 2:10“You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.