A man returns to see his physician to review his recent medical tests that were ordered earlier. The doctor looks down at the floor. He pauses and takes off his glasses, sighs and says: “Well what do you want first –the good news or the bad news ? The man says “I’ll take the good news first”. “OK” the doctor says “I am sorry to have to tell you this –your lab tests have confirmed that you have only about two weeks to live. The man is incredulous..What do you mean I have only two weeks to live? How can that be the good news? What could ever be worse that that?- What is the bad news? The doctor replies “I should have told you this two weeks ago”
What Do You Choose First–The Good News or the Bad News?
We’ve all heard this question asked before and if you are like me you may have deliberated a bit as to what you want delivered first. How did you respond when the answer was better than expected or when it was worse than expected? It’s easy for praise to come out of your heart and mouth when the answer is good…but its difficult to react the same way when the news just knocked the wind out of your sails and you felt “dead in the water.” It is often difficult to acknowledge or to see the Lord’s hand in a bad answer–as we think that all our trials and struggles come from the pit and all things good come out of heaven. This is not the case.“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” 1Peter 4:12-13 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Mt 5:44
Have You Taken The Same Test More Than Once?
We all have trials and troubles in life. Some are caused by bad decisions we’ve made or from following bad advise or bad examples. Some occur from living in a cursed and wicked world. Some are directed or allowed from heaven for correction and testing and our growth. These trials or storms are sometimes a necessary part of our spiritual growth and maturity. Our growth can’t be achieved separate from these trials. If we fail to recognize this we often find ourselves taking the same test over and over and over.
Sometimes we cause the storms (Gal 6:7) We reap what we sow. Sometimes God sends the storms (2 Sam, Ch. 11-12) Sometimes Satan is behind the storm (1Peter 5:8) (Job-Ch 1-2) Sometimes they are directed for our spiritual growth and maturity. (1Peter 12:13)
These tests are a part of life and we all have to deal with them as they arrive. One minute you can be enjoying life and a phone call, or a visit with your doctor, or sudden bad news arrives and you are in the storm of your life. They can easily fill us with fear and worry. We can cry out to the Lord out of our fear and terror as the disciples did in the boat during the Galilean Sea storm. (Mark 4: 35-42) I think a better way to respond comes from and out of our relationship with the Father. If you find yourself (like I often do) responding like the guys in the boat did -it demonstrates a need for deeper intimacy. When that is allowed to grow and develop a deep inner confidence blooms out that allows you to rest and embrace that inner peace that the Lord freely gives. (John 14:27,16:33, 20:19)
“We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him” Rom 8:28
The Lords Purpose in Our Sufferings
These trials are allowed for our growth and maturity and without them we can stagnate. As we mature it may even be possible to come to a place where every struggle and trial is welcomed as it brings us closer to Him who allows us to share in Christs sufferings. You can get to know Christ better when you share His pain.
Rom 8:18 “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
James 1:2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”
Our Rest Can Come Before Our Deliverance
We can rest in our trials and ask the Lord to give us favor through it, to help us to embrace it and find the peace that He promises and to give us wisdom and revelation and knowledge about what we should be learning and discovering and through that process we can achieve what He has for us. We are have already been given every thing we need to succeed. Hang onto these promises when your next trial comes upon you.
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all”. Psalm 34:19
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you”. 1Peter 5:10