'We Grow in The Valleys'
by Travis Wiginton
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I'm sure that you have seen the e-mail about how we grow in the Valleys of life.
This study comes out of 'real-life experiences', not from someone in an 'ivory tower'.
For over 56 years, my wife and I have served churches from our native Oklahoma to Wyoming, California, Texas and Hawaii, as well as serving as missionaries to Korea.
~My wife has 'lived with Lupus' (SLE) for 33 years.
~Within the past 2 yrs. she has had 2 heart attacks.
~Due to Lupus Neurapathy, she has no feeling in her legs/feet, so is not able to tell 'where' her feet are.
That has resulted in 3 bad falls within recent months:
~The 1st fall tore her rotator cuffs...
~In the 2nd fall, she was badly bruised (but now broken, Praise God).
~The fall last month resulted in a slight concussion and a fractured back...
so she's still in a body brace.
There's a credit card advertisement which says "Don't leave home without it".
La Moyne now says that she won't leave a room (nor take a step) without her walker.
~I am a cancer survivor (larynx) of 20 yrs.
~I have had 2 light strokes, a coronary stent and carotid artery surgery.
There's an old song "I'm Falling in Love Again" but I changed the words to....
"We're Falling Apart Again" :)
Please read on and we pray that this writing will help you (as it did us).
These are a few reasons, but the 'full story' will only be revealed in Heaven.
1) SIN -- Something is radically wrong with God's good creation.
There is a destructive, negative, chaotic, demonic perversion of God's world.
This perversion is called SIN.
Sin is primarily rebellion against God and when this happens, man must suffer the consequences.
Galatians 6:7 says: "Be not deceived..God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
This rebellion leads to one's' attempt to center life on themselves rather than on God...
and it results in the perversion of all human relations. (Romans 1: 18-32)
Pride and greed lead to injustice and human suffering.
We suffer because:
~we are sinners
~because we do not (or will not) repent
~because we just do not care about the other person.
ALL SUFFERING IS NOT DUE TO SIN, BUT ALL SIN BRINGS SUFFERING.
2) MISUSE OF FREEDOMS -- failure to choose the right...and the best.
Parents give their son a car to drive to school...he speeds and is killed in a car wreck.
We are free to do what we ought (keep the law)...not as we want.
3) LACK OF FAITH AND TRUST -- can lead to worry and possible heart attacks, etc.
4) INHERITED HUMAN WEAKNESSES (physical or mental)
Headlines in our local paper today said that research shows that the 'predisposition'
to Lupus tends to run in families, which is true in La Moyne's family.
The predisposition to heart attacks and strokes is very prevalent on the Wiginton side of my family.
We're not to 'dwell' on those facts, but learn what to do in order to hopefully prevent that problem.
5) NATURAL CALAMITIES -- (Matthew 5:45)
"He maketh His sun to rise on the evil...as well as on the good and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust."
We live in a world of natural laws. Example: When cold air rushes into an area where the air is hot/moist, chances are that a tornado will develop. We do live in an ordered world and can sometimes know what is likely to happen....and can take needed precautions. However there are some things that are beyond any human explanation or preparation.
6) SCRIPTURES INDICATE SUFFERING CAN HELP US APPRECIATE THE BLESSINGS AND GOOD TIMES OF LIFE MORE.
It helps us discover the real values of life. We learn through suffering the things which really count: Family, friends, churches and God. One said, "I have come to know God in such a way that it has made money seem very small to me."
7) WE MAY NOT UNDERSTAND THE 'WHY' OF SUFFERING, BUT IF WE TRUST THE 'WHO', WE WILL IN TIME SEE A PURPOSE. (Job 2:10 and Job 23:10)
Romans 8:28 says to take the long look.
~It is to test....or teach us
~To improve our faith
Helen Keller (making the most of blindness and deaf muteness) showed others who were limited in some way, that they could rise above their weakness.
I read about a librarian who had cerebral palsy, so she checked out books with her toes.
~God suffers too. A mother who asked where God was when her son died, came to understand that God's Son died, too. God understands and cares.
~Christ suffered deeply...and it turned out for our redemption.
8) SOME SUFFERING MAY BE CHASTENING --
"Whom the Lord loves, He chastens" (Hebrews 12: 6, 10 and Rev. 3:19)
Remember though, chastening may not be punishment.
Chastening is to refine and make better whereas punishment is to condemn/restrain.
Sickness is not necessarily a result of our wrong doing. Concerning the blind man, it was our Lord Himself Who said, "Neither hath this man sinned...nor his parents...but that the works of God should be made manifest in him." (John 9:3)
The Psalmist said:
"It is good for me that I have been afflicted that I might learn thy statues." (Ps.119:71)
We learn more during times of sickness, sorrow or suffering than at any other time.
In Heaven, more people will be there because of a positive witness during bad times...
than during good times.
"I walked a mile with pleasure,
She chattered all the way,
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with sorrow
And ne'er a word said she,
But oh the things I learned from her
When sorrow walked with me"
(Robert Browning Hamilton)
9) THEREFORE ALL SUFFERING AND TRIALS/TESTINGS CAN LEAD TO SPIRITUAL GROWTH.
James 1:2-12 says "Count it all joy"
~Count it all joy...when life tumbles in, because you may discover the power of prayer.
~Count it all joy...because you may gain an unshakable faith in God.
~Count it all joy...because you may discover the real values of life.
~Count it all joy...because God's purpose for your life may be perfected.
10) THERE IS A STEWARDSHIP OF SORROW WHEREBY WE EXPERIENCE GOD'S COMFORT, THEN SHARE WITH OTHERS.
When asked if he had his ministry as a pastor to live over again, what would he change, Dr. R. G. Lee replied, "I would be more of a comforter!"
Suffering and sorrow come to every person.
What sorrow does to you, depends upon your attitude toward it.
~Some will grow bitter and resentful.....while others will grow strong.
~Some will turn to God....while others will turn away from God.
~Sorrow can bring either defeat or victory.
It depends upon you and your faith in God...Who makes no mistakes!
The unbelieving world will be influenced for good or bad, positively or negatively, depending on the way you react.
In John 11:45, "Then many of the Jews who came to Mary and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on Him."
Two children were walking up a difficult path when one of them complained about the bumps in the road. The other child said,"But they help us to climb higher."
The bumps of life can throw us into God's hands....Who in turn will help us to climb.
Suffering builds you up and through your positive witness, will build others up.
Eddie Lieberman in "The Whirlwinds of Life" wrote:
"If the earth's pressure can turn carbon into diamonds...
if an oyster can turn pain into a pearl...
if Fanny Crosby can turn blindness into a song....
if Dale Evans can turn her suffering into a service...
if God Himself can turn the tragedy of His Son's death into a triumph....
then by God's grace and power, we can take the worst that can happen to us...
and turn it into the best that can happen to us."
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