Friday, 27 June 2014

"Your grace finds me"

If you hadn't noticed already, I have found some parts of my life hard since becoming sick. However I have also discovered God's amazing power for comforting and bringing joy to those who need it. I read recently a part of the Bible in 1 Kings chapter 19 where Elijah (a famous, and rightly so, prophet in the old testament) fears for his life as he has greatly angered a very influential person in his country while obeying God's instructions and fears for his life and wellbeing. At this point Elijah wants to give up everything. The Message (a version of the Bible) describes it as "wanting in the worst way to be done with it all". He really is at a low point.

And so Elijah prays and asks God to take his life. God answers his prayer - but not directly, as with most answers to prayer - and gives him 4 things: food, rest, encouragement and someone to help him. It appears to be exactly what Elijah needs as he shortly afterwards stands up to the influential person who has been angered despite her power to have him killed or beaten and conveys what God has in store for both her and her husband. It's not pretty (it involves them falling off high buildings and lots of blood).

I found this so encouraging as there are times when I have prayed for particular things and not seen them happen in quite the way I expect because God knows us and knows that sometimes what we need are more basic things. God didn't do as Elijah asked nor did he immediately solve Elijah's problem. He instead sees Elijah is discouraged and equips him with exactly what he needs to face the situation. I also think those 4 things that God gives Elijah are so applicable to every bad situation we face.

In this way the more difficult times in my life have led me to be able to get something from passages such as these and to really understand some of the mysteries of Christian life. I also think that you cannot truly understand questions like 'why does God allow suffering?' unless you have been through suffering with God alongside. At church last Sunday someone mentioned a talk they had been in recently where the speaker had mentioned that life is about balance and that with good things also comes bad things, and conversely that with bad things come good things.

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