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First of all, the Apostle Paul was speaking from experience. He had seen the ugly side of life up close, and he wasn't just making a random statement. Of course we know a tragedy, like the death of a child, the murder of a loved one, or the loss of property from storm damage isn't of itself a good thing. For the believer in Jesus Christ there is a sense these kind of things are sent to point us in the right direction. We also know the evil heart of man is able to devise horrors against his fellow man. When we realize abortion, adulterous things like human slavery, and addictive behaviors are manifested against us that they are coming from the depraved indifference of those not regenerated by the Holy Spirit. I don't blame God when an evil person has harmed me. Jesus Christ said, "In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world." What this tells me is the relationship between the Lord and one of His people is inviolate in circumstances. My joy isn't predicated through the head winds of adversity, but I keep pressing toward the mark of the prize in Christ Jesus. He is the reason I can be joyful. Misplaced joy predicated on circumstance gives us that sense of being tossed about by every thing. "I got a raise!" I'm happy. "I got fired." I'm sad. Through the filter of His endless love I am still joyful because this joy is centered in the fact He paid the sin debt, gave me eternal life, and has reserved a home in Heaven for me. "Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in me, for in my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you." Any temporary pain or set back winding it's way into my life cannot, will not, and must not derail the relationship established through the new birth. Doubts, fears, and anxiety are not the realm of the believer. We can no more live in these than a wayfaring man trekking through the desert without water. Are you persuaded of this truth or will you allow the whimsy of man, the randomness of tragedy, or the beguiling of Satan cause you to swerve from the path of righteousness established through His blood? We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us. This means we have won the war before the first shot was fired or the first arrow was launched. Being filled with His promises and expecting nothing less than absolute fulfillment propels the believer from darkness to light, from doubt to belief, from anxiety to serenity. This verse of scripture being discussed isn't for the baby Christian to fully embrace for he is still suckling on the basics, but those of us who have been tested by adversity know the value of who He is in our lives. Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward, but in Christ Jesus we know tragedies shall work for our best opportunity to praise, honor and extol the virtue and holiness of God. I would much rather go through life knowing He is in control than as so many who blame God for the bad things that happen. He is our life, and he said He would never leave us or forsake us. He has agreed to forgive our sins, bestow upon us His righteousness, and to eternally bless those who are allowed into His presence. Everyone faces trouble, the rain falls on the just and the unjust. The believer says, "Though he slay me, yet shall I praise Him". Choose to live unencumbered by the salacious lies of our adversary and stand firm in the relationship He has so graciously bestowed upon us. Count your self blessed to be counted worthy of persecution as did the Apostles who were beaten and commanded not to speak in the name of Jesus Christ. Let obedience propel you past the temporary pain, and give Him glory. If in the course of life you are reaping what you sow, rejoice that you are chastened as a son, and not rejected as a vagabond trying to pretend he is justified. May God give us knowledge of His will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.
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