Friday, 3 February 2012

Adversity to advantage!

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us a far more exceeding and eternal   weight of glory.” (2 Cor. 4:17).
If there is one thing that this world is not short of it is troubles and disadvantages. But turning that adversity into advantage, now that's the challenge. Disadvantages serve only to drive us on to greater victories if we refuse to be discouraged by them.   Jesus knew it well when he told a fisherman that he would make him a fisher of men. Hence do not dwell in the past, have a faith in God. He will turn every misery in to miracle and every adversity in to an advantage for His people.
 Financials breakdowns, losing job, family problems, accidents, sickness, betray of friends or colleague, torture by others and so on and so forth can cause depression, discouragement, distress and disappointment in life. Remember we are attacked by the enemy in our weakest moments. When we are confronted by intimidating situations and events, our enemy creates more confusion, makes us weaker and helpless and pushes us to hopelessness.  We are often attacked in the physical, emotional and spiritual realms in our weakest moments. Hence we call it troubles, or tribulations and problems etc. The question is how you respond to such a predicament.
When Paul writes “our light affliction,” isn’t writing as a kindergartner in the school of suffering.  Paul has an advanced graduate degree in suffering! He describes some of these sufferings in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27:”I have been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea,  I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers.  I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked………
 And those are just the physical, outward sufferings!  What about the spiritual burdens he bore and spiritual attacks he faced? But Paul describe the suffering and affliction as light and momentary not heavy and arduous, because, even the worst of our affliction, when we consider the measure of eternity, is but for a moment.  This is partially true in the sense that most of our troubles come and go, and “this too shall pass.”  But it is also true in the sense that even a long life by this world’s standard is nothing on the scale of eternity.  Even if one were to live for a hundred years and suffer every day of their lives, by the measure of eternity, it is but for a moment.   Why is our affliction light, and not heavy?  Because of what God is accomplishing in us through our affliction: a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.    Yes, our affliction is light!  Compared to what others are suffering.  Our affliction is light compared to what we deserve.  Our affliction is light compared to what Jesus suffered for us.  Our affliction is light compared to the blessings we enjoy.  Our affliction is light as we experience the sustaining power of God’s grace.  Our affliction is light when we see the glory that it is leading to.  We really can say with Paul, “our light affliction.”  
In 2 Cor. 4:18 Paul says about his life and ministry “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” In the world’s eyes, Paul’s life was an incredible failure.  At the height of a career that would reach much higher, according to world standards, he left it all for a life of hardship, suffering and persecution, with eventual martyrdom.  But Paul recognized that the world only sees the outward, not the unseen eternal things. When we look at the things, which are not seen, then we see and appreciate the eternal weight of glory.  Paul isn’t saying that all afflictions automatically produce glory.  It is possible to allow suffering to destroy us, and to let affliction make us bitter, miserable, and self-focused.  But if we will look to the things, which are not seen, then, our affliction will work in us an eternal weight of glory. The path of affliction is sanctified by the promises of God, and by the consideration of our Lord Jesus, who walked in it Himself, that we might not think it too much to tread in His steps. Yes, it has been a beaten path in all ages; for the innumerable multitudes of the redeemed who are now before the eternal throne, have entered the kingdom by no other way. Let us not then be weary and faint--but cheerfully consent to be the followers of those who, through faith and patience, are now inheriting the promises!

If, after much tribulation, we stand accepted before the Lord in His glory, we shall not then think much of the difficulties we met with in our pathway to glory. Then sorrow and sighing shall cease forever--and songs of triumph and everlasting joy shall take their place! Whatever storms may arise, we have an infallible and almighty Pilot, who will be a Sun and a Shield to those who love Him! Bible says in
Psalms 18:18 “They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support.” God will never forsake His children in their troubles. Our Lord will be your support when all other support Vanish. The Lord will not let you go down to the depth. He will lift you up and hold you in His hands. He knows what physical, emotional and spiritual support you need during these trying times and will supply all needs in the right measure. He will enable you to hold on to His promises. When the enemy pulls your legs, the Lord will place your feet on solid grounds. Whatever may be the immediate causes of your troubles--they are all under the direction of a gracious hand--and each, in their place, cooperating to a gracious end! They are all tokens of His love and favor--and are necessary means of preparing and promoting you in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus. God knows what you are going through today and will give you the right support at the right time in the right measure.

Finally remember that the Lion’s den was a platform for promotion for Daniel. Prison was the platform for elevation for Joseph to the position of Prime Minister. dungeon was the platform for writing the Scriptures down for Paul. The shade of the broom tree was the platform for re-commissioning Elijah for greater ministries. The jail was preparation time for Peter to find John Mark which ended up in the writing of a Gospel. Patmos was the arena for the revelation of Jesus Christ in His glory for the isolated John. Our Lord is working for us behind the scene. He will extend relentless support for us because we are part of His grand plan. No matter who walks out on you, the Lord will continue to support and strengthen you. )”You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)Let your life be a platform of praise for who He is to you in times of adversity, disaster, suppression, oppression, rejection and isolation.

God said to Moses “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14)Troubles will be no troubles, distresses will be no distresses, and dangers will be no dangers--if God's presence is with us. God’s special presence will turn. .   Storms into calms, winter nights into summer days, prisons into palaces, weakness into strength, poverty into plenty, death into life. God's presence makes-heavy afflictions--light, and   long afflictions--short, and bitter afflictions--sweet. A man in misery, without this gracious presence of God, is in a very hell on this side hell. God's gracious presence makes every condition--to be a little heaven to the believing soul. Honor and majesty are [found] in His presence; strength and joy are [found] in His sanctuary.” (1 Chronicles 16:27)

In His Joyful Ministry,

+Bishop M.A. Lalachan

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