Affliction Is Part Of The Race

!Pain:Monkey Bar:CSLewis
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”   Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28 (NIV) 
At some point in life we all think AFFLICTION is our middle name. 
In fact, during difficult times some believers may look up to the heavens and question whether God has forgotten the frailty of mankind.  Graciously, God forgives such moments of arrogance. From the dust of the earth He created Adam and He will never forget how His hands formed each one of us. He knows exactly what His children can manage and endure. 
Although we may find ourselves afflicted on many fronts, it is not God’s intent to crush us beyond repair. He knows we have a race to run and lovingly cheers us on, eager for our homecoming. But as we make our way to the finish line, we are bound to have a few trips and stumbles. God will help us up after every fall but He does expect us to learn something from our mishaps. 
Isaiah 42:3 describes Jesus as, “a reed bruised but not broken.” However, we are not the sinless Son-of-Man, so there may be a need for some brokenness in our lives.  The necessary breaking I speak of is the self-reliance and self-will we humans stubbornly cling to, and claim as our right to practice.  
This independent attitude is not aligned with God’s desire and design for us. He wants His children to rely on Him for everything. He is the great provider, Jehovah Jireh.  He freely gives us all good things, including wisdom, strength, love, and hope. All He asks for is a prayer of faith absent of doubts, for doubting suggests an uncertainty in His power and might. 
Painful situations or circumstances may have you perplexed, but confusion is never of the Lord. Seeking God during such times will help clear out the cobwebs. Ask Him to lead and direct you, and  trust the Holy Spirit to be your counselor.  One of the many reasons the Holy Spirit has been placed within each believer is to teach discernment.  And how else would we learn to use this gift if there were not opportunities to practice it? Storms and struggles are the means to perfect this spiritual gift. 
The Bible tells us that our life on earth is a race.  All races require effort and active participation.  In fact, our spiritual race involves an obstacle course.  We must hurdle roadblocks, landmines, and encumbrances of many kinds.  Although runners may trip and fall, they get back up in order to cross the finish line. We can’t get discouraged and throw in the towel if we want to claim the reward waiting at the finish line. This reward is eternal life with God! 
Each one of us has a unique journey to travel. We have the freedom to run our course however we choose.  Our pace, how many times we trip, and whether we stay down and let others pass us by will determine what we take into the Kingdom of God.  For with each struggle there is a lesson to learn and wisdom to gain.  If we sit and remain down after a fall, we will have fewer opportunities and less time to learn the many mysteries of God. 
“A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out. In faithfulness He will bring forth justice.” Isaiah 42:3 (NIV)
“But God is the God of the waves and the billows, and they are still His when they come over us; and again and again we have proved that the overwhelming thing does not overwhelm. Once more by His interposition deliverance came. We were cast down, but not destroyed.” ~ Amy Carmichael
“One day someone is going to hug you so tight that all of your broken pieces will stick back together.”   ~Anonymous
(*I so believe that someone special is God!!)

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Luke 21:36 "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."

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