Do you know how to listen to God’s voice and welcome the Lord?
By Arby, Philippines
We often feel distressed when encountering unfavorable things. The fellowship in this article will help you understand how to approach them and escape the pain.
Exhausted and depressed after a busy day, Arby alone climbed up a mountain at dusk. Sitting in silence, he recalled the series of unfortunate things he encountered recently and felt very sad, tears uncontrollably streaming down his face. In weakness, he had a strong desire to pour out his depression to William, a good brother of his in the church, so he took out his cellphone and edited a message to William.
Arby: Brother William, recently I encountered a series of misfortunes. Faced with all these things, I feel very upset and harbor complaints about God. I don’t understand: Since I’ve just accepted God’s work of the last days, God should protect me, so why did He still allow these unhappy things to befall me?
With a beep on the phone, there came William’s message.
William: Take it easy, Arby. If we couldn’t accept those unfavorable things happening in our life from God, we indeed would become weak and our states would also be disturbed, and in serious cases, we could even misunderstand and betray God. Actually there are Satan’s schemes behind these unfavorable things befalling us. In 1 Peter 5:8, it says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour.” God’s word also says, “God works, God cares for a person, looks upon a person, and Satan dogs His every step. Whoever God favors, Satan also watches, trailing along behind. If God wants this person, Satan would do everything in its power to obstruct God, using various evil ways to tempt, harass and wreck the work God does in order to achieve its hidden objective. What is its objective? It does not want God to have anyone; it wants all those that God wants, to occupy them, control them, to take charge of them so they worship it, so they commit evil acts alongside it. Is this not Satan’s sinister motive? … Satan is at war with God, trailing along behind Him. Its objective is to demolish all the work God wants to do, to occupy and control those whom God wants, to completely extinguish those whom God wants. If they are not extinguished, then they come to Satan’s possession to be used by it—this is its objective.” Fromwe can see that when God works to save us mankind, Satan would do everything in its power to harass and obstruct His work. This is because since we were corrupted by Satan we have been under its control and become the people of Satan, and when we are chosen by God and come into His presence, it means that we are going to break away from Satan’s dark influence and no longer be afflicted and fooled by it. But Satan’s substance is evil, it is unwilling to see that we return before God and wants to maintain its control over us, so it tries every possible means to carry out its schemes—subjecting us to various unhappy events such as losing property, falling ill, making our families encounter misfortune—so as to destroy our , make us complain about and stray away from Him, and even betray Him, losing His salvation. Therefore, all these unfortunate things befalling you recently are actually Satan’s disruption and temptation. We must see these things from the perspective of the spiritual world, for this is the only way for us to see through Satan’s schemes and avoid being duped by it.
Pondering over the message from William, Arby’s brows began to relax. He seemed to have understood something, and quickly typed a message to William.
Arby: Turns out that all these unhappy events that befell me were out of Satan’s disruption and that this was a spiritual battle. It’s so evil and despicable for Satan to use these means to prevent me from following God’s new work. But there is still a question I don’t understand. God is almighty and He knew that Satan would use these misfortunes to harass me, so why didn’t He stop Satan? If He had done that, would I not have to suffer now?
William: Arby, we all know that God is omnipotent and omniscient and that His wisdom is always exercised based on Satan’s schemes. The reason God allows Satan’s temptations to befall us is to test us to see whether or not we truly believe in Him. If we don’t have faith, we will inevitably become passive and even retreat when Satan’s disruptions and temptations come upon us. But on the contrary, if we genuinelyin our hearts, then Satan’s disruptions and temptations just give us a chance to see clearly its ugly face and evil motive, through which we can truly reject and forsake it and bear witness for God to shame Satan. This is just as when God allowed Satan to tempt Job. Satan wanted to make Job deny and betray God by attacking and tempting him, so it first raised up a gang of robbers robbing Job of all his property, followed by making his children suffer calamities, and finally caused his whole body to break out in painful boils. But because Job had true faith and reverence for God, though he was suffering enormous emotional and physical pain in the face of these calamities, he didn’t deny God but still praised and stood witness for God, thus causing Satan to be so utterly ashamed and defeated that it never dared to accuse Job again. After this trial, Job received redoubled blessings from God and his faith was also perfected by God. This just proves what says, “Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love Him” (James 1:12). Therefore, God allowing Satan’s temptations to befall us is to test us as well as to grant us an opportunity to testify Him, within which there are God’s good intentions.
Pondering for a while as he read this message from William, Arby then responded, “William, through your fellowship, I came to understand thatis to test our faith when He allows Satan’s temptations to befall us. This is exactly God’s wisdom. Before, when everything was going smoothly, I thought I had great , but when things that went against my wishes happened one after another, I began to misunderstand and blame God. I’ve really seen that I do not have true faith in God. Meanwhile, I also came to realize from the example of Job that Job truly believed in and worshiped God, so he didn’t blame or deny God when faced with calamities, while I just want to gain grace, blessings, and peace in my faith in God, so once anything that was against my wishes happened, I would become negative and weak, and even complain about and blame God. Compared to Job’s testimony, I feel really ashamed!
William: You are right. In fact the most unreasonable manifestation of us corrupted mankind is that we always make deals with God in our belief in Him and always wish to receive grace and blessings from Him. Just as God’s words say, “Most people believe in God for the sake of peace and other benefits. Unless it is to your benefit, you don’t believe in God, and if you can’t receive God’s graces, you fall into a sulk. How could what you have said be your true stature? When it comes to inevitable family incidents such as children falling ill, loved ones going into hospital, poor crop yields, persecution by family members, you can’t even make it through these things that often happen in day-to-day life. When such things happen, you’re thrown into a panic, you don’t know what to do—and most of the time, you complain about God.” God’s words incisively expose our wrong view that belief in God is solely to obtain blessings. Since we were corrupted by Satan, our natures have become incredibly selfish, despicable and mercenary. No matter what we do, we want to gain profits, and our belief in God is no exception. In our minds we always think that since we believe in God, God should protect us from calamities and ensure we are safe and sound and that everything goes smoothly. Therefore, as long as something unfavorable comes upon us, we misunderstand and blame God in spite of ourselves, and even argue with God brazenly. We really are lacking in conscience and reason. As the saying goes, “Sometimes things just don’t work out the way you thought they would.” The entire world lies under the sway of Satan, so it is inevitable that we will encounter a lot of painful and unfavorable things in our lives. Those who don’t believe in God have no one to rely on and may feel miserable and helpless when misfortunes befall them, whereas we believers in God have God with us and will gain His guidance as long as we rely on and look up to Him—this is a fact most of us have experienced. We, however, still misunderstand and blame God—isn’t this grieving God? If we don’t correct our wrong views on belief in God, we will never gain God’s approval even if we follow Him to the end, but will often fall for Satan’s schemes and complain about God, losing our testimony, and ultimately end up being rejected and eliminated by God.
Arby: Yeah, that’s right. Seems that if we don’t remedy our erroneous views on belief in God, we will involuntarily complain about God in the face of unfavorable things and can hardly stand witness. Thanks be to God. Through fellowshiping this way, I feel very brightened in my heart. I have seen that there is great significance in God’s allowing Satan to tempt me. On the one hand, it has allowed me to see clearly the wickedness and despicableness of Satan, which stops at nothing to prevent people from returning to God. On the other hand, it is also for me to recognize my own motives to gain blessings, so that I can give up my mistaken pursuits—this is truly God’s salvation for me! Now I have understood God’s will and so no matter how Satan disrupts and tempts me in the future, I will obey God and unswervingly follow Him to the very end. Meanwhile, I will also put aside my motives to gain blessings and try my best to pursue the truth so as to achieve true obedience and reverence for God.
William: Thanks be to God! May God lead us to stride toward this goal.
The sky was getting dark, but Arby’s heart was brighter than ever …
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