Problems and the Glory of God
“You will call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” Ps 50:15
Why is it that God doesn’t just take us to heaven when we receive the gift of salvation? Being lifted from a fallen, sinful and painful world the moment we are saved seems so right. To be removed from the world of temptation to immediately reach our ultimate destiny seems so reasonable and divine, doesn’t it? But maybe, just maybe, going to heaven is not our ultimate destiny. Maybe we were created for something far more awesome and satisfying than a place. Maybe our ultimate destiny is not to just arrive at a glorious place but to discover and delight in a glorious Person.
The beauty of heaven and the beauty of earth, is the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ [2 Corinthians 4:6]. Maybe the reason we do not go immediately to heaven is that God wants us first to see and savor and share the glory of God while still on earth. In this world, God has ordained that we would have troubles [John 16:33]. Those troubles are designed by God to be the tools he uses to enable us to see that glory of God in the face of Christ. That is what I believe Psalm 50:15 means when it declares: “call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” Troubles come to put us in impossible situations. In those times, people of That Book know what to do. They call upon their great and good God and He delivers them. He demonstrates his power and his love in such a unique way that His people see the glory of God in his faithfulness. God keeps His promise to His children. He gives more grace as His people cry out to Him in faith. We get the help. He gets the honor.
Let me give you a personal illustration of how that recently worked out in my life. After arriving in Argentina, we flew from Buenos Aires to Cordoba. We packed our bags in the our missionary host’s car and made our way to their home. The next morning, as we sat at the breakfast table, I remembered that I needed to take my medicine. So, I went to get it from my carry-on pouch. That is when I had a horrible thought. I didn’t remember seeing the bag in my bedroom or the house. I began a frantic search of the place with growing anxiety. I went through every room of the house and then rifled through the car, twice. No bag! As I retraced my steps up to my room for the third and final time I heard an inner voice say, “Don’t you trust me?” I responded, “Apparently not.”
Completing my fruitless search, I sat down and counted the cost. In that bag was about $1600 of personal and ministry money. My passport, my cell phone, my medicine and my MP3 player. Gone! Lost! Kaput! I was in deep trouble. Then Steven, our host, suggested we call the airport to see if someone might have turned it in to the police. And I thought: “Right. Somebody, discovers a bag of gold and no one knows it. He is going to turn it in to the police? Right. And let’s say that it did get to the police. The Argentinean police are notorious for their dishonesty, aren’t they? No way! I am in deep trouble. What am I going to do?”
Well, after being transferred to different authorities, Steve finally did make contact with the airport police. And, miracle of miracles, they did have my bag! So, we decided to be late to my first class and drive to the airport immediately to retrieve what was there before anybody was tempted by the contents. Arriving at the airport we were ushered into the security officer’s office and there was my bag…with everything, every dollar, still in it! The official told us that a laborer found it outside by the parking lot and not wanting to be tempted to steal it, didn’t even look into it to see what might be in it. The policeman went on to say that this man only makes $130 a month. So, he had in his hands round twenty months of his normal income.
Steve, who was translating for us, must have told the officer that it was my birthday. As we left the office he said in Spanish, “See it is still worthy to be an Argentinean. Happy birthday.” I was humbled and impressed. Before I left Cordoba I had the opportunity of finding this young man and thanking him both verbally and materially for his honesty.
But the real thanks goes to the One who was orchestrating this problem. He had His purpose in it. He always does. You see, I always approach these trips with a little uneasiness. I am keenly aware that I am entering a totally different culture with a language I don’t understand and teaching a message that is not always understood or welcomed.
So, I think, the Lord allowed this “impossible” problem to confront me at the commencement of my tour so that I would know that He is still great and that He is still good. He confirmed to me that He was sovereign over all things, even to the preservation of the valuable contents of my bag… against all odds. “Call upon my in the day of trouble. I will deliver you and you will honor me.”
And so it was that in every seminar and in every teaching I spoke with confidence to those Bible students and Pastors, that God’s promises are true. Problems come so that we get a little foretaste now and here of what we will experience then and there. Heaven will be an eternity of discovery. The problems will be over but not the glory. In heaven we will discover eternally what we began to discover on earth. We will be overjoyed with the untold pleasures we find “in the face of Christ.”
So, don’t miss the awesome opportunity that you have in the midst of your problems. Call upon him in the midst of your troubles. They may not be caused by Him but they are certainly under His control and direction [Romans 8:28]. See them as coming from a great and good God. Then watch and enjoy the unbelievable ways God reveals to you His power and love. You too will honor Him. He gets the praise. You get the joy. That is the way it is suppose to work.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Dr. Gary Rieben. © Give Me That Book. Email: Grieben@aol.com. Website: www.GiveMeThatBook.org. Postal: GMTB | P.O. Box 1045| La Quinta, CA 92247 USA | 619.829.2390
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