Problems Do Not Change Your Purpose

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the  power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed;  we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed — always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life  of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered  to death for Jesus ’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

2 Corinthians 4:6-11

Paul travels in some pretty elite spiritual company in my mind and is paired with men like Joseph and Job as it pertains to dealing with life’s traumas and tribulations. Yet Paul, like Joseph and Job seemed to understand the All Things principle in a way that made it visible to others both in word and deed. The next thing I want to point out is packaged in a way that makes it easy to remember; Problems do not change your purpose. We could insert trials, traumas, tribulations, any number of descriptive term of phrases that would all be fitting but the all encompassing description of these things as problems not only lends itself to being remembered but also covers all the bases. This is what Paul is saying here though his comparative phrases; hard-pressed, but not crushed, perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not forsaken, struck down, but not destroyed. I want to remind you as well that you can travel in this elite crowd as well. You can say as Joseph did to his betraying brothers;

But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good,  in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.

Genesis 50:20

The circumstances for Joseph were that his jealous brothers sold him into slavery to a traveling merchant and in his captivity a high ranking official set her eye on Joseph and when he refused her advance she accused him of assaulting her and he was imprisoned. While in prison he interpreted the dreams of two men concerning their future and one was executed and the other released just as Joseph had said. When the man had his position in the kingdom restored Joseph said remember me and see if you can get me out of here since I am innocent of all charges. The man forgot him for two years and then finally Joseph is released from prison and through a series of circumstances is promoted to second in command in all of Egypt and after all these things and after many years, the brothers who started this whole process wind up standing before Joseph asking for food in the midst of a seven year famine. What you just read was Joseph’s reply to them once they found it it was him.

That is what hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed looks like in the life of someone who understands the All Things principle. Problems, however that may be defined for you, do not change the purpose of your existence as a Christian. It may change you, it may change your circumstances, it may change your happiness, it may change your pain level, it may change your ability to trust certain people, it may require you to forgive certain people for your own sake. But your purpose will never change which is to be a light that shines out of darkness. To be a witness, to love and serve God, to meet the needs around us as we are able, to recognize that the evil meant against us may not be from family but from powers and principalities and rulers of darkness in this age. (Ephesians 6:12) 

So as you begin to move forward in an effort to Dance with the Scars, remember, as a Christian you are one of the called according to His purpose. You will have to move forward with unanswered questions, especially the “why” question in cases of life trauma, betrayal, divorce and unforeseen circumstances. You will have to recognize that you cannot live as continual wound, as the phases of grief are encountered make sure you are progressing toward acceptance which begins with leaning on God and not blaming Him, remembering that what is true about Him in good times is still true when things are tragic or tough. You must also recognize that although people who have experienced trauma find themselves with many counselors, the timing and stages of grief are different for each person and denial and anger can visit multiple times on the journey toward acceptance. For those who have been told that they should pick up and move forward as though grief were a sin for a child of God, remember, wounds create scars on Christians just as they do anyone else. Life happens in ways that hurt and create painful memories and can influence someones thought processes and God can and does heal and restore, in His time, not other peoples.

Remember that we are engaged in spiritual warfare and the devil does not let up because you’re wounded. He will try to create confusion and doubt which lead to fear and despair and we must never exchange what we don’t know for what we do know. We don’t know why God allows what He does but we do know He is good, all the time. We don’t know why God heals some and not others during this life but we do know that every Christian has an eternal, pain free existence awaiting them. The enemy wants you to live the rest of your life in wound care and he will do all he can to inhibit you ever Dancing with the Scars. He’ll kick you when your down, push you in the wound and he’ll use people to do it. He loves it when friendly fire separates families and friends, nothing pleases him more than to stifle and once loving a close relationship with misconceptions or inconsiderate words. It is during such times we must remember we are not defined by the words of others, we are defined by the word of God.

Excerpt from “Dancing With the Scars” now available on Amazon.