Van Peterson - Faith and Suffering

What I am going to share isn't very encouraging and perhaps it is not very inspiring, but maybe someday it might help you.


Faith in God is really a blind trust in Him.


Many  people believe if we have faith in God, everything will turn out wonderful.  That is not faith.  That is just a human idea.


If we have faith in God, He will allow experiences that are not wonderful. God has just one purpose - to prepare us for a rich eternity. We are born only to prepare for eternity.  Nothing else.  We need to keep that in mind.


When a farmer plants a field, it is because he is thinking of the harvest.  If a bug is attacking the field, it doesn't bother them to run out and spend money for spray.  A farmer has these different joys in the process, but really it is all about the harvest.


No farmer would spend money on spray and chemicals if it weren't for the harvest.  No farmer would get excited about the grain nearly ready if it weren't for the harvest.  We experience some wonderful things.  It is wonderful to be part of a hearty fellowship.  It is wonderful to be married to someone who loves God also.  But if happiness only depended on that, what about some who don't have that?  Some of us are labouring in fields with much interest, but if happiness depended only on that, what about workers labouring in fields with little interest?  Whatever our place in life, we are preparing for eternity, nothing else.


The story of Job. This makes interesting reading, but if we didn't know the end before we started, it would be sad.


Hebrews 11, we see what most of them received for their faith.  Do you know what they received for their faith?  Most of the time it was suffering.


The first one was Abel.  What did he get for his faith?  Murdered! God allowed the one who didn't love Him to kill the one who did love Him.  It was all about the harvest. Abel died, but he went to heaven.  It wasn't a bad exchange.


It is all about the harvest.


Noah - what did he get for this faith?  One hundred years of hard labour.  Here was a man with a family to raise.  Farming everything by hand with no machinery.  God comes along and says, "You have to build this huge ark."  What a burden.  Can you imagine the first day - got up, went out in the sun  Worked in the afternoon with his axe trying to make that log into a beam.  For a hundred years.  Why did he do it?  It was all about the suffering for this faith.


Let us be willing for whatever is asked of us, because it is all about the harvest.


Let us learn to thank God for the experiences that help us to think about eternity.




Abraham.  God spoke and said, "Leave your home, land, and come where I will show you."  He spent the rest of his life living in a tent and wandering around the country.  He was rich and should have had a mansion.  Why did he do that?  He realized God knows best and life as a wanderer prepares one for eternity  What he had wasn't so important, because it was all about eternity.


God promised him a son.  Sara got to be a mother in her old age.  That is what she got for her faith.  She didn't have that child when she was young and could enjoy him, and had strength to control him.  But when she was old and not so able.  God doesn't do things the way we think He should.  But could we remember, God does things the way He wants, and it's all about the harvest.


Joseph - what did he get for his faith? He got mistreated by his brothers and sold as a slave.  He spent years as a slave in Egypt and years in prison in Egypt.  He got that for his faith, not for his disobedience. He had a blind faith in God, and he knew God was in control.  He knew that if he was a slave there and in prison, it was because God allowed it. When he became important in the land, he could have used that opportunity to go home.  But he didn't because he knew God put him there.  He got years of suffering for his faith.


What did Moses' parents get for their faith? They lost their child - that little boy so precious to them.  They saw a stranger carry him off and go into a corrupt environment.  They let him go, because they knew God was in control.  They wanted the 'best' for their children, and if that was God's will, they allowed it.


Moses had the best education and the best of everything.  He left it all because of faith.  He lived 40 years in the back side of the desert, and 40 years of leading a rebellious people in the wilderness, 80 years of suffering.  It was all about the harvest.  He would soon leave the joys of the house of Pharaoh anyway.


Rahab - what did she lose for her faith?  She lost everything she had for her faith: her city, her home - everything except her family.  But she knew she would lose it anyway.


Could God help us to be willing for whatever sacrifice - it is all about the harvest.  In a few years, it will all be over.  A hundred years from now, none of us will live here.  Let us blindly trust God, keep our eyes on high, and accept His will - and someday, we will have a rich harvest.