Monday, August 22, 2011

cast your cares on Him.

"and the rains descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, 
and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock."
Matthew 7:25

it's very easy to say that your house is built on the Rock; isn't it?  i mean, when things are going well, when life is good, you can testify of the good that God has done for you, and you can speak of how His grace is always sufficient.  but what about when the rains fall, and the winds blow, and they beat upon your house?  last night at church we had a guest speaker named adam dooley.  adam has a three year old son, carson, who has leukemia.  adam preached on suffering...more specifically, the name of his sermon was, "living with an uninvited guest".  i mean it when i say that it was one of the most powerful messages i have ever heard.

let me just get real for a minute:  there are some things about the christian life i don't understand, and one of those is why really bad things happen to really good people.  i mean, don't get me wrong; i understand that it is all because of the fall.  but i still don't understand why a family such as the dooleys have to go through what they are going through.  and i know all the church answers: it's to bring God glory; God is just allowing it but doesn't cause it, da-dada-dada, but it's still hard to understand.

i so admired pastor dooley, because he was real.  he was transparent about what he's feeling.  he admitted he has questioned God.  he has questioned why him & his family?  he has had no faith, has been afraid that he will wake up and his son will be gone.  but at the end of the day, he returns to the truths that he knows with his head and believes with his heart.

i wanted to tell you a few things he said, because they impacted me, and i thought they might have an impact on someone else.  first, he pointed out that before Jesus knew the glory of the resurrection, He knew the agony of suffering.  we want to be like Jesus, know Jesus more, glory in His resurrection, but we do not want suffering.  he was quick to say, that's fine!  that's normal!  no one wants to suffer.  but just remember when you're suffering, that God is allowing you to know Him more through your suffering.  it is a means to know him more.  he beautifully illustrated this by saying that the first night his son was in the hospital, they were trying to put in all of the IVs in his arms, and it was just not working.  his little son was fighting the nurses and flailing around, and finally adam walked over to the bed, pinned his son's arms down, and laid prostrate on top of his son.  he said his little boy looked in his eyes and screamed, "daddy, stop!  don't let them do this to me!  it hurts!"  and in that moment God spoke a powerful truth to him.  adam was allowing the nurses to do something that would hurt his son because in the end, IT WOULD BE FOR HIS GOOD.  God does that for us.  He allows us to suffer, because in the end, it will be for our good.

he also pointed out that if you are going to know Jesus as your burden bearer, you are going to have to have burdens to bear.  oftentimes you will counsel people to rest their cares and burdens on Jesus, but you know nothing of this first-hand!  i pray to God i will rest my burdens on Jesus!  {and God reminded me just this morning how that Jesus has always been the burden bearer for us:  he took the burden of my sin on the cross of Calvary, and continues today to take my burdens - when I will give them to him - and he carries them for me.  what a Lord!}

he also stressed the point, when you suffer for Christ, don't wast that experience!  it is an opportunity God is giving you to know Him more; to witness to others that His grace is sufficient, to bring Him glory.  don't waste it!

the last two points just might have been the most thought-provoking, though:  he said, when suffering happens, the priorities that don't really matter, don't matter anymore.  tv, internet, books, whatever don't matter in light of the fact that your days may be numbered with a loved one.  you will put priorities where they need to be when you are faced with hardship.

and the last thing that stuck with me was when he said, "don't make God your adversary when He should be your shield!"  it's easy when you're suffering to quit believing that God quit believing that He works all things for wonder is God even believe He must not be so good if He would allow this to happen.  instead, in the tough times, make Him your shield.  i love that word and the picture it portrays!

i'm claiming these things today...i don't understand the suffering the way that adam dooley & his family understand it, but i have a few burdens that i'm laying down at Jesus' feet.  and i'm praying i will leave them there. 

*to check out carson dooley's caring bridge, click HERE.*

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