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Why would you serve a God who treats his children like this?

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Recently our dear niece experienced the hardest of times. In November, her parents died within five days of each other; in December, a tornado damaged their home. Three months later, when she was just catching her breath, her husband caught fire in a workplace accident and suffered third degree burns on 20 percent of his body. It’s a call I’ll never forget!


I woke up at 3 am with a fiery dart thought,” Why would you serve a God who treats his children like this?” The question repeated itself like the lyrics of a song you’d like to forget. I wasn’t quite awake, but another thought came closely behind: “It’s time to leave this path of following hard after Christ.”

I’m thankful that I know every thought that comes to my mind is not my own! Before I could formulate my escape route, I awoke.


Peter’s words came to mind. At a time when many were turning away from Jesus, Peter says, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).


In tears, I poured out my heart to God. He gave me three encouragements.


First, when you want to run, run instead to the place where you know you can meet with Him. When confronted with evil, Elijah ran but he ran to Mt. Horeb, also known as Mt. Sinai. It was a significant place where the children of God met with God in the past to receive His covenant promise and His Word. It was there that Elijah heard God’s whisper and received the blessing of a ministry partner in Elisha. Is there a place where you can run to meet with God?


Second, the promise in Isaiah 40:31: “Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength.” There is a little buried treasure found in the command to wait. The word wait in Hebrew means “to gather or bind together like strands of a cord.” Gather yourself together with God, His promises, and His people to find the strength promised to run and not get tired; walk, and not become weary.


Finally, ask the Lord to reframe your painful circumstances. When I prayed for my dear niece and nephew, the Holy Spirit reminded me of Paul in the Philippian jail. It was in that pit that Paul was able to reach the highest levels of the Roman government with the Gospel. And it was in the burn unit of the University Hospital in Iowa City that my niece, Jennifer, and her husband, Mike, have testified powerfully of the grace of God found in Jesus Christ. So powerfully, in fact, that several nurses told Jennifer they want to start a patient award after him!


Freedom in Christ family—let’s run! Let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). The witnesses are cheering us on. And praise God, there is a finish line and a kingdom that cannot be shaken!


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Sue Jantz
National Director of Prayer

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