None of us can say that we have received answers to all our prayers and solutions for all our problems. When our difficulties persist, sicknesses linger and people come against us, our faith shatters. We often think as the Psalmist, that I have kept my heart pure in vain and washed my hands in innocence (Psalms 73:13). When we do not claim the above purity, the devil deceives us during difficult situations, saying God hates us.
The devil blinds our eyes to see the truth that we are the forgiven children of God. God never hates us but He loves us irrespective of our worthless conditions. Amidst these never-ending struggles, we miss one aspect that connects us with God.
For some people, long-suffering is a snare to lead them towards the place where the fire never extinguishes. But for some others, it is a channel to receive eternal life. How could the same message or the same situation lead people toward different destinations?
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:1 Corinthians 1:18-19
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
God destroys the wisdom and intelligence of people to make them understand His power. If we keep any of our skills, strength or knowledge above God’s, then He will destroy those aspects along with us. But if we keep His message, word and deed above our knowledge, God will come to our rescue.
Bible expresses long-suffering as endurance and perseverance that produces patience. It conveys a direct meaning of “keep going” despite problems. Believers also adapted this lifestyle and attribute long-suffering to a path toward righteousness or maturity. The “keep going” concept hinders us from receiving blessings, deliverance and healing as we are stuck with what we should not do.
Medical science helps us to treat the disease rather than curing. Concerning relationships, the Bible teaches us to bear with one another to maintain harmony among the people who do not want it. People mistook this and let their enemies reign over them, thinking that this sacrificial act would lead them to righteousness.
Prolonged sicknesses and unsolved problems, lead people afar from God, thinking that He is angry at us. But the fact is that God still loves us, even though we show our anger toward Him. Anger does not serve the purpose of God in our lives. Psalm 136 repeatedly tells us the love of God endures forever. Do we love God constantly? When our love for God endures, long-suffering will become nothing in the presence of His love.
The book of Hebrews recorded that Jesus endured the Cross, keeping in mind the joy set before Him. Accomplishing His Father’s will nullified His sufferings. Does the hope of dwelling with Him forever make our trivial sufferings nothing?
Barriers To Receive Healing
The Gospel of John recorded the healing of an invalid man who suffered for thirty-eight years. Jesus asked him, “Do you want to get well (John 5:6)?” The man answered that there was no one to carry him to the water when stirred. Not paying attention to his complaint, Jesus healed him. With what expectation did this man enter the premises of Bethesda pool on day one? What made him spend thirty-eight years of his life with his ailment?
What makes us wait for such a long time to receive healing? The provision is the same for each one of us. The opportunity is plenty, yet we are unable to claim our healing. When the invalid man failed to avail the opportunity, Jesus reached him. When we were not raising our eyes to look at God, He sent His only Son to save us. This provision is available to all who believe in Him. He resides in our hearts when we believe and receive the Good News. In His Kingdom, there is no race to reach the stirred water first, because of the blood of Jesus that is open to each one of us (Zechariah 13:1).
The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.Romans 5:20-21
The grace of God does not allow us to die as sinners, and the grace of God has provided us with treatments to prolong our life so that we may seek Him and His Kingdom and receive eternal life. Yet we do not understand the grace and are stuck with the provisions, thereby forgetting the provider. We believe in treatment but fail to believe in the healing by His stripes.
Furthermore, we depend on men rather than God. The invalid man relied on men to carry him to the stirred water. Using our influence and authority deviates us from reaching the destination earmarked by God. Using our limited resources to place our children in jobs would restrict the unlimited resources of God available to our children. We depend on the seen resources and go far away from our unseen God.
All That Matters is Love
While we depend on men, they fail to meet our expectations, and in turn, we become frustrated. The invalid man expected help from people, and when it did not happen, he was frustrated and unable to identify Jesus, who was conversing with him. Our griefs and sorrows blind our eyes from seeing the light of the Gospel, and we go to the extent of rejecting His forgiveness and healing.
Not loving God but only fearing Him creates a void in our connection with God. We never realize this lacuna in our lives and think that God does not love us. God demonstrated His agape love by giving us His only Son. God still pours out His love through His Holy Spirit into our hearts, and if we receive that, we will love God with all our hearts and minds and be with Him forever.
We love because he first loved us.1 John 4:19
God loved us when we did not deserve His love, and now we are reluctant to love Him with all our hearts as if God does not deserve our love. People love to be around wicked people, not to earn their enmity, and under that pretext, we treat God as an enemy. We should understand that above all God deserves our love because He redeemed us by giving His Son to us.
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.1 John 2:15
While we love this world and all in it, we do not realize that we do not have the love for God in our hearts, and we continue to fool ourselves with the fellowship of believers and fail to have fellowship with God.
A believer who was active in the church became sick. She heard a voice of God reminding her relentlessly to love Him with all her heart and strength. When she examined herself where she failed to love her God, the Holy Spirit reminded her of an idol stored in her wardrobe. Immediately with her feeble hands, she took that and dumped it in a trash bin. Surprisingly she regained her strength and returned home as a healed person. The idol she kept did not have the negative power to make her sick. The woman who does not deny that idol to make her friend happy drained her love for God. Her love for human relations more than God brought her sickness.
Let us examine ourselves where we fail to love Him with all our hearts and strength. When we love Him, we will realize that we are the forgiven children of God, and we will love Him more.
Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”Luke 7:47
Do we think God has not forgiven us and does not love us? Or do we assume God forgave a few sins, so we also love Him little? Let us not fool ourselves with this thinking, as God has forgiven our sins that were huge and threw them into the depth of the ocean. When Peter received this forgiveness, Jesus asked him thrice, “Do you love me?” When Peter committed himself to Jesus, Jesus told him to lead people in His path.
Let us ask God to help us to love Him with all our strength in this lifetime. As God made us realize that we do not love Him, let us fold our hands and bend our knees to ask Him to teach us to love Him with all our hearts. We cannot stop talking about our achievements. Have we ever talked about what God has done for us? Only when we love God, we can proclaim His love.
Do not seek God to derive worldly blessings but seek Him because of the love He demonstrated to redeem us from eternal death.