I recently read a quote from George Muller that I just loved. He said, "Our heavenly Father never takes any earthly thing from His children, unless He means to give them something better instead." I pondered that for a little while, and I remembered some times in my life where I wondered (or said out loud) "WHY ME?" I wondered if God had forgotten all about me, and the promises He made to me. I wondered why He would allow such unwanted and unwarranted hurt come to me. I mean, Have you ever had something happen to you, that you just didn't see coming? And no matter which way you turned to God, and tried to do what you thought He wanted, you just couldn't avoid the hurt that came to you? It wasn't your fault. It wasn't your choice. It wasn't what His Word said should happen, but it did, and there you were, ... flat on your face, heart broken, dreams shattered, and trying to figure out WHAT POSSIBLE BLESSING could God have for me in this???
Hebrews chapter eleven is what we call the "Hall of Faith." Verse after verse tells us of men and women who left all, to follow God. Towards the end of the chapter it talks about many unnamed heroes of the faith. Some were stoned, sawn asunder, tortured, slain with the sword, mocked, scourged, imprisoned, tempted, and tried. Not only that, some were destitute and tormented, and wandered in deserts, dens, and caves. But the phrase that caught my eye was, "not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection." (Heb. 11:35, KJV) They DID NOT ASK to be delivered? Hmm. Interesting. We sometimes go through the smallest trial and ask God to deliver us. When was the last time you were stoned or sawn asunder for the cause of Christ? No, today's Christian knows little about real sacrifice, and when asked to do without the smallest thing, or give up their most precious, they whine, cry, and complain to be sure that EVERYONE knows they're suffering. We ALL have done this. The chapter goes on to say, "And these all, having obtained a good report through faith," (Heb. 11:39, KJV) I think "good report" might mean they didn't complain and they didn't give up.
The Bible does not name these heroes but this chapter says the world was not worthy of them. WHY? Why did they do all of that? Why did they go through all of that? Why did God allow them to suffer so? I think verse 40 answers it. "God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." God had something better. Yes, it was long. Yes, it was hard. Yes, it was hurtful. No, they didn't deserve it, for some wrong they had done. God needed them to be an example for us. Trials are going to come. Some we choose, others are thrust upon us by the choices of others, but God is still God, no matter what.
My four children, are close to being grown (so to speak.) :-) They are 19, 17, 16, & 15. Life has not always been easy, but God's been good. I haven't always known what to do, or made the right choice, but God's been there. I haven't always understood why God allowed some things to happen that put me on this path (that HE KNEW I'd be on) but God's been faithful. I have no idea what the future holds, but God is already there. Sometimes, its hard to think that the thing God allowed to happen, though hurtful to you, was helpful for someone else. When I read the above quote, from George Muller, along with Hebrews 11, the Lord reminded me that He has never left me. He knew that if I had not gone THIS way, that myself, or my children might have been harmed. I wish I could tell you that I never asked to be delivered.:-( But over the years, the Lord has shown me,... I was. He's a great and faithful God, and He had (or has) provided "some better thing." Wait for it.