“I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times”
Mercy Me “Bring the Rain”
I was recently berated by someone who point blank accused me of being a hypocrite because of all the physical problems I have encountered the past 15 years. The person told me I was a terrible witness to Jesus Christ and that I got sick and have stayed sick because of the sin in my life. I was told in no uncertain terms that I am being punished and will continue to be so until and unless I repent.
I neither got angry nor hurt by these careless words spoken by an acquaintance. If anything, I felt sorry for the person speaking them because of the delusional theology he has woven for himself and his followers. I thanked him for his opinion (which was not asked for) and told him I did not agree with his “diagnosis” of my condition. He was not happy and abruptly ended the conversation.
It deeply pains my heart that so many Christians are so full of haughty judgmental criticism. It deeply bothers me that instead of seeking to edify and comfort, there are many who simply seek to break the suffering and demand their version of faith be honored and believed or else...
My abundant life is absolutely not measured by how good I feel physically or how well off I am financially. My relationship with God is not dependent upon how many wonderful things are going, how many kids I have graduating from college or how man grand kids I have. None of these things have anything to do with manifesting the more abundant life Jesus promised.
I can rejoice in God and glorify Him whether I am feeling good or crippled in pain. I can be a faithful son in whom He is well pleased whether I grace the cover of some magazine or look like death warmed over. I can be a witness to the love, grace and mercy of God whether I am standing before the multitudes preaching or sitting with one troubled soul who has given up hope.
The shallow externally oriented brand of Christianity practiced by some does not interest me in the least. The belief that God can only be glorified if the lame walk, the blind see and the dead rise again is pure foolishness as far as I am concerned. If these things happen, Praise God; but they are not the only ways to bring glory to the Almighty.
When we stand faithfully through tribulation, never give up no matter how hard things get and continue to manifest peace in the midst of the storm, joy in the midst of sorrow, hope in the midst of despair and love in the midst of persecution and affliction; that is the greatest witness we have to just how powerful and gracious our God really is.
If storms allow me to grow closer to God and serve Him better, then I pray—Bring the Rain