Running the RaceHow deliberate are you in your spiritual training?
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Lazarus is dead. And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now
you will really believe (vv.14-15).
A cave-in left 33 men trapped deep underground
in a copper and gold mine in northern Chile.
The men battled despair during the initial hours,
when dust from the collapse choked their lungs and
cloaked the mine in darkness. They barely hung on over
the next 17 days as they prayed for someone to find
them. And when they finally were pulled through a new
shaft to daylight—69 days after their ordeal began—
their triumph was all the sweeter for the depth of the
challenge they had overcome.
No one goes looking for trouble. No one wants to
be addicted to alcohol or drugs. No one enjoys being
unemployed, with too little money to both pay the rent
and feed the kids. No one asks God for over-bearing
in-laws, back-stabbing friends, or disease.
But some of these will happen to most of us. When
they do, we can choose to complain like Martha, “Lord,
if only you had been here, my brother would not have
died” (v.21). Or we can see that our obstacle is a thinly
veiled opportunity. As Jesus told her, “Your brother will
rise again” (vv.21-23).
Problems are necessary to display God’s power. If
we never get sick, we won’t know that our God heals.
If we’re never broke, we won’t know that our God
provides. And if we never die, we won’t know that our
God raises the dead.
What’s your problem? Have you been unfairly maligned or abused? You
have the privilege of discovering the freedom of forgiveness. Are you battling
addiction? You have the opportunity to experience the power of Christ. Out of
money? You get to see just how much your heavenly Father loves you.
Your problem isn’t the end. If you’re with Jesus, it’s the beginning of a lifechanging
Read 2 Corinthians 12:1 to see how Paul experienced God’s
provision as he faced a problem.
How can your present challenge be an opportunity? Keep a
journal of the trial you’re enduring. Take careful notes so you have a
record of how God sustained you through this dark period.
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