Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Trials and Tribulations

 This message could also be titled "Waiting Upon The Lord", because it is about all the trials, tribulations and suffering we go through waiting upon the Lord to fulfill His promises to us, to use us as He told many of us that He would. Are you wondering what you're doing wrong to warrant all this suffering? Are you wondering why God is not using you as you thought He would? Are you wondering what you must do to step into the ministry He called you to many years ago? Well, you're not alone.

Today's theology tells you that you have to have enough faith to appropriate all that God has for you.  It tells you that you must cause good things to happen by your positive confession and faith. It tells you that God doesn't want you to suffer, and if you are suffering it is because God is dealing with you about something (translated, that means that God is punishing you for some unknown sin in your life, or a lack of faith). The "great" pastors and teachers will tell you that you have to "step into" the ministry God has called you to, take it by force, make it happen.

My brothers and sisters, those are all lies. Let's look at how God actually does things to those He has called to His service. When Moses was forty years old he knew that he was going to deliver his people from Egypt. But what happened next? He fled Egypt and settled in another country and forgot about being his people's deliverer. Forty years later God called Moses to go back to Egypt and deliver the Lord's people from bondage. What was Moses response? "Not me Lord, I'm too old, I can't speak, etc". Did Moses "appropriate" God's promises to cause him to be his people's deliverer? Nope! Did Moses "have enough faith" to be the Jews' deliverer? Nope. It was certainly nothing that Moses did to cause this to come about, it was what God did regardless of whether Moses wanted it or not. 

How about David? When he was eighteen he was anointed as king of Israel by the prophet. Did David go about telling all the people that he was now king of Israel? Did he have enough "faith" to step into the kingship? Did he demand his new position as king? Nope. Instead he served Saul by playing the harp for him. He became a mighty warrior for Israel. He served his king and country well with no intentions of "working his way" onto the throne. While he was being faithful his king began to hate him and tried to kill him, forcing David to flee for his life. He experienced great persecution because of his faithfulness and humility. But thirteen years later when it was God's time, God placed him in the position He chose for David years before. David had intentionally done nothing to cause that to happen. It was something God did to fulfill the word He had spoken to David years before.

Joseph is probably the best example of all. When he was eighteen he had a dream of the sun and moon and eleven stars bowing down to him. We know what happened next, his brothers sold him into slavery. Joseph eventually worked himself into a position of trust and responsibility in Potiphar's house because he served him well and faithfully. Joseph no doubt felt that his years of misery were over. Then Potiphar's wife falsely accuses Joseph and Joseph is put into prison. Can you imagine the bitter disappointment he must have felt, how hurt he was, how painful it must have been, how angry he must have been at being accused falsely?

In prison Joseph is raised up by the :Lord and given great responsibility and authority. He must have been thinking "The Lord is getting ready to take me out of here and vindicate me!" Then the chief cup bearer and the baker have dreams that Joseph interprets for them and he asks the chief cup bearer  to remember him to the king when he gets out of prison. The cup bearer forgets about Joseph when he gets out. Can you imagine how bitterly disappointed Joseph was again, how devastated he was?

Two years later the king has a dream and the cup bearer finally remembers Joseph. At last Joseph is taken out of prison and put as second in command in all of Egypt. He had to wait thirteen years to be vindicated. Then some time later his brothers came to Egypt and eventually his whole family, who do bow down before Joseph as his dream had said. Joseph now knew that God had put him through all that suffering to preserve the remnant of his own people during the difficult times that lay ahead.

God has promised many of us many things for years now. But instead of the fulfillment of those promises, all we've seen have been trials, tribulations, suffering beyond belief, bitter disappointment after bitter disappointment. We've been judged, condemned and rejected by our fellow "Christians" who have no understanding of what God is doing. We've wanted to give up many, many times, but God would not let us.We were told by pastors,  teachers  and "Christians" that God was a good God and He didn't want us to suffer, that He just wanted to bless us. That if we just had enough faith that we could have everything that God wanted us to have. Or, if we would just learn the lesson that God was trying to teach us, then He would take us out of the pit and put us on the mountaintop. We even tried to do some of the things they suggested but found out that it didn't matter what we did, the situation did not change. Bitter disappointment after bitter disappointment after bitter disappointment.

Take heart my brethren because your waiting has not been in vain. God has been testing, trying, maturing, preparing and strengthening us during these times of great suffering. Believe it or nor He has been building our faith and trust in Him to great levels. He has been teaching us to hear His voice and to be led by His Spirit and not by man. He has been preparing us to handle great responsibilities and authority in the near future. He is about to begin fulfilling the specific things He promised us years ago. Moses had to wait forty years, David thirteen years and Joseph thirteen years. I've been waiting twenty-eight years for Him to fulfill even one of the many promises that He made to me back in 1983. But is there any choice other than to wait upon the Lord?

He is preparing many of us to be able to lead those whom the churches and teachers have lied to an misled with all their false doctrines - to lead them to the truth so that they don't lose their faith and thus, their souls during the time of horrors that God is about to unleash upon this nation.  We will lead many to places of refuge and safety, to preserve the holy remnant and prepare them to become the bride of Christ, for He is coming soon!  Some we will help prepare for great persecution, imprisonment, torture and even death because of their faith. What an awesome task and responsibility this will be!  When all is said and done, we will understand what a great thing God has done by sending us through the hell that we have been through.

God's ways are not our ways, neither is His timing our timing. His timing is perfect according to His plan, not our plans. What He requires of us is that we obey Him and wait upon Him.