A little over a week ago one of our beloved cats disappeared without a trace, this makes the second cat in a month to vanish. Cats don’t get lost, run over maybe, but not lost. What added to my anguish and confusion was that on the spur of the moment the night before I had prayed specifically for his safety and protection.
For people who have never had a cat it’s hard to imagine the trauma of losing one let alone the torment when you don’t know what happened. Most people will tell you they would rather find out their beloved feline met their demise with a motor vehicle than to be left wondering. Even in hind sight it can seem trivial but that is only because of Gods amazing grace, because in the week following Oreo’s disappearance I was distraught to be honest, from his sudden disappearance, my confusion about God allowing it, and the belief that my cats have gone missing at the hand of a neighbor; a neighbor to whom I must be as Christ. Suffering…… somethings are sent by God, but even what isn't, is used by God.
1 Peter 4:19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
We forget sometimes we are possessors of nothing and stewards of everything, even the gifts God gives us. He graciously reminded me that He was Oreo’s creator and could take care of him quite well, thank you. I had to come to realize that even if Oreo had been taken and dumped in the middle of nowhere I was not anyone to question Him about it. I was reminded of Job, not because of his suffering (nothing I’ve been through ever could compare to his suffering) but because the Lord addresses Job as ‘one who darkens His counsel with words without knowledge’, how well I could relate, because that is where I was living for several days.
God understands how hard it can be in the midst of suffering to continue to do good, especially if you believe that someone else is responsible for the suffering. BUT I can tell you without a doubt, God’s grace is sufficient, for His strength is made perfect in weakness.
There are times in our life when we will suffer on account of God’s will. Not suffering just because of what we are experiencing, but going through it the way, we as believers in Christ are commanded in scripture to respond.
1 Peter 4:12 Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you as some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when his glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
So not only are we to not think it strange, but we are to rejoice! Seriously? I mean after all I am a believer, doesn’t that make me immune to certain types of suffering? Maybe you don’t ever think that way, and though I don’t adhere to the “modern gospel being preached these days” I must admit I have. I understand why Jesus said ‘blessed are those who aren’t offended in me.’
One thing I have come to realize over the years is, if we as believers never suffer anything how are unbelievers ever going to know just how incredible the grace of God is? We sometimes forget that grace encompasses everything about our life, not just getting saved. Grace is God’s divine ability to do that which would otherwise be impossible. God requires some hard things of us, but He also gives us the ability to do what He requires. How awesome is that! If we are going to be a strange sight to draw the attention of those who don’t yet know Him, then we will be as the bush on fire in the desert that drew Moses aside. The bush was on fire yet not consumed. God's primary goal for our life is to conform us to the image of Christ. Remembering that helps change my perspective about suffering.