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March 20, 2005
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This is an excerpt from my favorite book,
The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren: Chapter 25

"God has purpose behind every problem. He uses circumstances to make us like Jesus than He depends on our reading the Bible. The reason is obvious: You face circumstances 24hours a day.

Jesus warned us that we would have problems in the world. No one is immune to pain or insulated from suffering, and no one gets to skate through life problem-free. Life is a series of problems. Every time you solve one, another is waiting to take its place. Not all of them are big, but all are significant in God's growth process for you. Peter assures us that problems are normal, saying, "Don't be bewildered or surprised when you go through fiery trials ahead, for this is no strange, unusual thing that is going to happen to you."

God uses problems to draw you closer to himself. The Bible says, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit." Your most profound and intimate experiences of worship will likely be in your darkest days – when your heart is broken, when you feel abandoned, when you're out of options, when the pain is great – and you turn to God alone. It is during suffering tat we learn to pray our most authentic, heartfelt, honest-to-God prayers. When we're in pain, we don't have the energy for superficial prayers.

… Problems force us to look to God and depend on him instead of ourselves. Paul testified to this benefit: "We felt we were doomed to die and saw how powerless we were to help ourselves; but that was good, for then we put everything into the hands of God, who alone could save us." You'll never know that God is al you need until God is all you've got.

Regardless of the cause, none of your problems could happen without God's permission. Everything that happens to a child of God is Father-filtered, and he intends to use it for good even when Satan and others mean it for bad.

Because God is sovereinly in control, accidents are just incidents in God's good plan for you. Because every day of your life was written on God's calendar before you were born, everything that happen to you has spiritual significance. Everything! Romans 8:28-29 explains why: "We know that God cause everything to work together for the god of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance and he chose them to become like his Son."

… Every problem is character-building opportunity and the more difficult it is, the greater the potential for building spiritual muscle and moral fiber. Paul said, "We know that these troubles produce patience and patience produces character."  What happens outwardly in your life is now as important as what happens inside you. You're circumstances are temporary, but your character will last forever.

… Since God intends to make you like Jesus, he will take you through the same experiences Jesus went through. That includes loneliness, temptation, stress, criticism, rejection, and many other problems. The Bible says Jesus "learned obedience through suffering" and "was made perfect through suffering." WHY WOULD GOD EXEMPT US FROM WHAT HE ALLOWED HIS OWN SON TO EXPERIENCE? Paul said, "We go through exactly what Christ goes though. If we go through hard time with him, then we're certainly going through good times with him!"

Problems don't automatically produce what God intends. Many people become bitter, rather than better, and never grow up. You have to respond the way Jesus would… Whenever God says no to your request of relief, remember, "God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God's holy best" … it is vital that you stay focused on God's plan, not your pain or problem….

…Character building is a slow process. Whenever we try to avoid or escape the difficulties in life, we short-circuit the process, delay our growth, and actually end up with worse kind of pain – the worthless type that accompanies denial and avoidance…

If you are facing trouble right now, don't ask, "why me?" instead ask, "What do you want me to learn?" then trust God and keep on doing what's right. "You need to stick it out, staying with God's plan so you'll be there for the promise completion." Don't give up – grow up!
:icontonymec:
Since God intends to make you like Jesus, he will take you through the same experiences Jesus went through.
No crucifixion for me, thanks. I don't have ambitions that lofty.
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