Poems, Personal Stories, and Observations

Posts tagged ‘chastisement’

Thank God for the Fleas

When my parents were World War II refugees, they lived in various Displaced Persons camps run by the U.S. and other Allies. Sometimes it would be so cold that there was frost on the INSIDE walls of their “accommodations”.   (I don’t know exactly what their living quarters were like,)  At some point in there, my older brother (a baby!), one paternal uncle, and my paternal grandmother also lived in the same camp(s). At least they had shelter!  Traumatic as it all was, thank you Allies (and, ultimately, God), for keeping my family alive!  Others, as you know, suffered considerably more: in concentration camps, in battles on land, sea, and sky, and elsewhere.

LIFE IS A GIFT! And, I’m so grateful to live in a home with heat and hot water.

Corrie ten Boom was in a concentration camp during World War II, because her family had hidden Jews in their home.  She decided to take seriously the Scripture, “… give thanks in all circumstances …” (1 Thessalonians 5:18), so she gave thanks for the fleas in her barracks.  Sooner or later, she learned that the guards would avoid her barracks as much as possible, because of the fleas.  In that way they did not get as much abuse as they might have.  Perhaps most of us are not as faith-filled as Corrie ten Boom, but there is certainly a lesson to learn from her.

War is probably horrific for everyone touched by it, but perhaps it’s appropriate to also remember the positives.

Why do some (or perhaps all of us) encounter great trials and tribulations?  I propose a few reasons here, several or all of which could occur together:

  1. We are being tested by God.  It can be an opportunity for growth, to trust in Him more.
  2. We are being chastised by God.  ” … for the Lord disciplines those whom He loves, and chastises every child whom He accepts.” (Hebrews 12:6).  This is a good thing, because it shows that God loves us enough to correct us.
  3. We are suffering for our own or other people’s poor choices.  We make bad decisions, or others take out their frustrations on us.
  4. It’s just part of the fallen human condition.  Because of original sin, we all suffer consequences such as illness, accidents, death, etc.

No matter the reason, we must trust that God is with us through these difficulties.  I don’t see any other reason to hope.

 

 

 

The Existence of Evil Proves God’s Love

This came to me a few days ago.  A friend said that it was good as far as it went,
but that there wasn't enough about God's chastisement.  I added one sentence about
that later. At any rate, here it is.  Comments are welcome.

---------------------------------------------------------

The title statement may seem shocking or incomprehensible.  Evil brings much pain
and suffering to this world.  Bitterness, hatred, trauma, violence, and it goes on
and on.  History is littered with the consequences of evil.

But we need to know this:  Love is something that can never be forced.  You cannot
MAKE someone love  you.  You can attempt to make yourself more attractive to them
perhaps, but attracting the person doesn't necessarily mean they love you; they 
may be out for their own pleasure, or trying to fulfill a need.

God's love, however, is totally pure.  God IS love.  He will never force us to 
choose Him, and if He did, it wouldn't be real love; it would be a lie.  Therefore,
God allows us to accept or reject Him.  He doesn't want false love.  He knows that
real love is a totally free decision.

Don't confuse what people may have presented to you as God's love; there may be
a confusion in your heart and mind between how people may have treated you,
how some bad things have happened to you, and what you would consider love.  
Instead, go read the Bible and see how merciful God is to the woman caught in 
adultery (John 8:1-11), or the book of Judges, where over and over God rescued 
His wayward people, or the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, where God mercifully brings
back His people to Israel after a period of exile for their grievous sins.
Notice the story of Peter in John 18:15-18, 25-27 and 21:15-19, how Jesus gently
draws Peter back to Him after denying him three times.  You will notice that God
is always offering love, even when people are doing wrong things.  

You may not be aware of the things you are choosing.  It may even be that some 
people unconsciously choose or reject God's love.  I am not the one to judge 
whether you have accepted or rejected God.  But, I do believe that if you reject
His love, evil will grow.  Maybe you don't even realize you're doing it.

So, God allows us incredible freedom.  He gives us real love, and He wants only
real love from us. It is our choice to accept His love or not. [His love can 
include chastisement, but it's a loving chastisement designed to guide us back to
His truth.] The consequences of our choice are huge.

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