Weekly Spiritual Digest: Why Does God Allow Pain and Suffering?

by Rev. Sunday Bwanhot | Job was a righteous man, yet he suffered. Everything went wrong in Job’s life in a single day and his response was to worship God. God is still there despite any tragedy you may be experiencing. God allows Job’s pain to prove to Satan that Job worshiped God for who He is and not because of His blessings.

Pain and suffering are real but also relative. For some kids, eating veggies is the worst suffering in the world. Every one of us has a story of pain and suffering and some are going through it right now. The primary source of pain is the Fall. We sowed SIN and we are reaping its harvest. The good news is that God is interested in you, loves and cares for you more than you can ever love and care for yourself. Pain and suffering come upon good and bad people alike, but it has an end! Job was a righteous man, yet he suffered. Everything went wrong in Job’s life in a single day and his response was to worship God. He declared the truth we must always remember: The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Job did not ask Why Me? He accepted both good and trouble from the Lord. Job. 2:10.

Some reasons why God allows pain and suffering?

  1. In Job’s case it was to prove to Satan that Job worshiped God for who He is and not because of His blessings. Why do you worship God? Pain and Suffering will expose your motive.
  2. When we suffer like Christ, we become more like Him.
  3. It produces Perseverance, Character and Hope. Rom. 5:3-5.
  4. Because of the Name of Jesus Christ. Lk 21:12

We learn obedience just as Jesus did. Heb. 5:8. When you suffer, you have a choice to either remain stuck and bitter or better by growing through your pain. If the purpose of my life is to bring glory to God, then even when I suffer, I must bring glory to Him. How have you handled pain and suffering recently? God promises He will be with you, not let you go through trials beyond your ability, give you grace, peace, joy, hope and finally deliver and reward you with the words: Well done, good and faithful servant.

Rev. Sunday BwanhotRev. Sunday Bwanhot is EMS/SIM Missionary. He serves as Team leader of SIM Culture Connexions; Pastors of ECWA Chicago.



From Pain to Praise

by Dena Yohe | This Bible verse has become special to John and his family: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there but water the earth and make it bring forth and bud that it may give seed to the sower ad bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void” (Isa. 55:8-11).

If you’re a parent in pain due to the behaviors and choices of your son or daughter, New Year’s might not be a good time for you, so I have something special for you. It’s the true story of God’s faithfulness in His pursuit of a wayward son. A former prodigal and his mom got together wrote it (I’ve made only a few grammar edits). They gave me permission to share with others to encourage them. This is for parents far and wide; a vision of what God could do in your child’s life—a gift of hope.

Let me tell you about John. You may see similarities here to your own child. John is the son of Christian missionaries. He made a decision for Christ when he was 5 years old. He rededicated his life at age 12 and was baptized at 17. However, when he was 18, he decided to live life his way. He chose to deny God to justify his choices. These choices led him out of his parent’s home, first to live with friends, then on the streets.

He never blamed his parents for his choices or their consequences, “You guys have done nothing wrong. These are my decisions. I feel like I need to do this.”

Eventually, John joined the Army. A few years later, he got married. His parents found out on Facebook. Over time, he made many bad choices that led to several addictions. After a few years, his marriage ended. This was a huge life-change that led to him on a search to find self and what he was missing.

God brought about him reconnecting with an old friend with whom he desired to have a relationship, but she shared that if he wasn’t walking with the Lord, it was a deal-breaker. A month later, John called his mom and told her, “I’m having a crisis of ego. It is my ego that is keeping me from God.”

This godly mom questioned his motives, but of course, she wanted him to pursue God. She gave him some advice a wise woman had given her many years earlier: “If you don’t make a decision because you think your motivation could be wrong, then you’ll never make any decisions because your motivation could always be wrong! Connect with God and pursue whatever He is calling you to do. And if you think your motivation may be wrong, ask Him to change it. You can’t steer a parked car; you have to start in a direction and then let God steer you.”

Soon after that, John chose to come back to God, and a transformation began.

The change has been amazing. He has connected with a good church, joined a men’s small group, and is being mentored by an older gentleman. He’s also reconnected with a former middle-school friend who is now a strong believer. This friend directed John to some excellent resources that answered many of his troubling questions regarding Christianity being rational and the Bible being valid. He now sees where “science and God really do go together.”

God has met John in a profoundly personal way showing him:

He was God—true and powerful. He has ” unbridled joy in His presence.” That His Word is unfailing, steadfast and living, teaching him different things each time he reads it.

John chose total surrender, in his own words, “…not just supplementing my life with God.”

He has a passion for the Bible. He’s choosing forgiveness, for himself and for others. He’s facing challenges but facing them with faith and trust in God. He’s connecting with God; listening and obeying have become a way of life.

His mom shares, “What a joy for us to watch this transformation in our son’s life! We couldn’t be more proud! He has taken a hard road to Jesus, but we’re confident the Lord wastes nothing and will use all his experiences for his glory. God truly is doing a mighty work in John’s life and in all of our lives!”

This Bible verse has become special to John and his family: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there but water the earth and make it bring forth and bud that it may give seed to the sower ad bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void” (Isa. 55:8-11).

Note from Dena: Never stop praying and bringing your requests to God. John’s parents never knew if or when their prayers would be answered, but they never gave up. Persevere! 2018 could be the year of transformation for your child (and for you)!

See hopeforhurtingparents.com for the original article.



Can fibroids hurt your pregnancy?

Linda Carroll | In most cases, fibroids won't cause a problem with pregnancy according to experts | (Today Health & Wellness)

Often, the first time a pregnant woman learns she has a fibroid is during her initial routine ultrasound. That's because fibroids usually don't cause symptoms. But they are quite common—more than 70 percent of women have them.

In most cases, fibroids won't cause a problem with the pregnancy, experts say.

"Common as they are, complications during pregnancy are relatively unusual," says Dr. Philip D. Orons, a professor of radiology and chief of interventional radiology at the Magee-Womens Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "The most common problem is symptoms in the mom, which can include pain, nausea, fever, vomiting and occasionally elevations of the white blood cells."

Uterine fibroids are abnormal, noncancerous growths that develop on a woman's uterus. Their cause is unclear, but they may be related to hormones or run in families. Once a woman is pregnant, fibroids can't be removed because the uterus is prone to bleed more than normally. So women have to live with them until after the baby is born.

Related: FDA warns against fibroid removing device in this Novemebr 2014 article on NBCNews.

Although problems associated with fibroids are rare, it's still important to be aware of the possible complications.

Pain

Fibroids larger than 2 inches are more likely to increase in size during pregnancy since their growth is driven by the hormones progesterone and estrogen. When growth is rapid, sometimes the central portion of the fibroid can degenerate and this can cause pain, Orons says.

Another scenario is when a fibroid is growing outside the uterus on a stalk.

"You can have a torsion of the stalk and that can cause pretty severe pain during pregnancy," Orons says.

Generally doctors will treat the pain with acetaminophen. If that doesn't work they may prescribe a short course of narcotics or NSAIDs like ibuprofen, Orons says, although "NSAIDs should only be used before 32 weeks gestation because the use of these types of medications later in the third trimester has been associated with developmental defects. Rarely, patients need to be hospitalized for intravenous pain control."

Complications during pregnancy:

  • Comprised blood supply: "If the fibroid is located right by the placenta, it can affect the blood supply to the fetus," says Dr. Stacey Scheib, director of minimally invasive gynecology at the Johns Hopkins Medicine and director of the Hopkins Multidisciplinary Fibroid Center. "Then sometimes the baby may be born a little on the small side and there can be complications, including difficulty breathing, problems maintaining weight and body temperature." If the blood supply is severely compromised and there's a drop in weight, doctors may need to deliver sooner rather than later.

  • Risk of preterm birth or premature rupture of the membranes: A growing fibroid can increase the likelihood that the birth will be premature, or that the woman's water will break before the baby is ready to be born, Scheib says.

Complications during delivery:

  • Baby's position adversely affected: Depending on the location and orientation of the fibroid, the baby can end up in either a transverse or breech position, Scheib says. That may necessitate a C-section.

  • Fibroid can make vaginal delivery impossible: If the fibroid is in a lower part of the uterus near the cervix, it can obstruct delivery, Scheib says. In that case, a C-section will be required.

  • Fibroid may lead to hysterectomy: Sometimes the fibroid will need to be removed in order for the obstetrician to close the uterus up, Scheib says. "Those situations are rare but because of them, there is a slightly increased risk of hysterectomy at the time of the C-section delivery," she adds.

Ultimately, women should take comfort in the knowledge that all of these pregnancy complications are very rare, both Scheib and Orons say.

 



Encouragement for Those in Painful Processes

Be of good cheer. Those painful processes you are going through are about to make you stronger. (Reuter)

I felt the Lord saying that there are encounters with His power that are going to happen in the midst of your "process" right now as you stay positioned. I saw encounters with the power of God for many across the body of Christ as they refused to "cave" under the pressure, and these encounters with His power were like a defibrillator.

It was bringing hearts back to life and revival in hearts, and it was seeing deliverance happen in hearts and lives. It was seeing a shock of hope and excitement released for what the Lord is going to do. Not only will dreams come back to life in hearts, but with fresh vision and the Lord will add new "elements" and "layers" to these dreams in the heart of His people through these encounter with His power.

In the encounters with His power, there is a great awakening that will happen in hearts to the heart of God like never before. Where hearts have been "out of sync" with what the Lord is doing or saying, or fear has caused hearts to move away from the heart of God or His dreams for their lives, suddenly they will be shocked by His power and love into life and back into rhythm with His. 

Through these encounters with His power the people of God are going to move through the process fully. One day you may feel like you are walking barely scraping through, barely "making it" to then having some of the greatest encounters of your life with Him and His power, to suddenly being full. There is going to be such a significant release of His power and impartation into hearts and lives that the people of God as they stay positioned are going to go from feeling empty to full. 

Fire of Testimonies: In the process I saw the people of God as they "leaned in" to Him and refused to give up, they were brought to a place of being full of strength, joy, peace and revelation, that suddenly the fire of God fell from heaven while they worshipped and they went from full to an explosive overflow—an explosive overflow releasing His revelation and testimony to all around. 

"My people's mouths will be full of testimonies." 

The people of God moved out into all areas of their lives with their mouths full of testimony—testimonies to His faithfulness, deliverance, power and love in the testing process. Tests are turning to testimonies. 

To those who have been hit in "financial areas" in their process lately, the Lord is releasing significant financial provision that is going to release some of the greatest testimonies to His provision that you have ever had.

The process may feel painful, the stretching unbearable and you may feel dry, but can I encourage you, do not give up in your process. Refuse to give up even in the weariness for some of the greatest encounters with His power are being released right now as the people of God "lean in."

You will go from "barely surviving" to "thriving." From feeling empty to full and from full to explosive overflow releasing the testimony of a good God to all around you that will release a breakthrough anointing for others as you share. Hold on tight! God is going to use your process powerfully!

"Your testimonies are my delight, they are my counselors" (Ps. 119:24).

Lana Vawser has a heart to encourage the body of Christ and individuals in their walks with Jesus, to have deeper intimacy with Him and to learn to hear His voice. She operates in the prophetic and loves to share the heart of God with others. Lana has written her first book, titled Desperately Deep—Developing Deep Devotion and Dialogue with Jesus, and loves to see others grow in all that God has for them.