Are you a victim? According to Webster’s Dictionary a victim is someone who is injured, oppressed, destroyed or sacrificed through illness or accident; has undergone hardship or oppression, or has been tricked or fooled. That pretty much covers us all doesn’t it?
Tragedies and illness do not play favorites. In addition, God designed us with a mind to reason and the free will to decide between right and wrong, so there will always be people who abuse, mistreat, misjudge, cheat, and lie to us. Human nature is naturally weak; this tendency causes ungodly people to look after their own interests and pleasures first, even if it means hurting others.
Some people say God is unloving and cruel because of the presence of wickedness, pain and suffering in this world. Anyone who really knows the nature of God understands that this is impossible. Everything God created was good. Sin was the virus that entered the world, because of Adam’s disobedience, and perverted everything that was originally good. Now we must learn to live within the mess. Yet, God will never forsake Christians to evil—even when our afflictions are self-inflicted.
Then why does God allow us to suffer the consequences of our bad decisions? For one thing, trials force us to face our true selves. When we are under pressure everything in our hearts is pushed to the surface in clear sight. God wants us to recognize, and get rid of, the ungodly attitudes and undesirable attributes we’ve been hiding from ourselves. He wants us to mature into people of true Christian integrity. For another, pain and discomfort change our perspectives when nothing else will. Sometimes we just need a wake-up call. Every heartache, illness and trial we go through has a valuable lesson in it. When we quit focusing on the problem we will find it.
Because Christ lives in us we can proclaim victory over the devil, temptation and sickness, even before healing is evident. God said“Let there be light in the darkness.”The light is Christ. His spirit—His attitude—should shine through us in the worst of circumstances, at our weakest moments. We are able to go through terrible ordeals without being emotionally broken when we are convinced that God is in every situation with us. We can choose to see our afflictions as temporary inconveniences that will pass. We can choose to use every life event as an opportunity to demonstrate our faith and to become better people. Others need to see that life with Christ is what makes all things bearable.
This is the attitude which enabled Paul to say“We are pressed on every side by our troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. Through suffering, these bodies of ours constantly share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.”(2 Cor 4:8-12 NLT) This is also the attitude that enabled Job, in the midst of his pain, to stand firm in his faith and proclaim“He will deliver me again and again, so that no evil can touch me.”(Job 5:18 & 19 TLB)
Author, Oswald Chambers once said“We talk about‘circumstances over which we have no control.’ None of us have control over our circumstances, but we are responsible for the way we pilot ourselves in the midst of things as they are. Two boats can sail in opposite directions in the same wind, according to the skill of the pilot. The pilot who conducts his vessel on to the rocks says he could not help it, the wind was in that direction; the one who took his vessel into the harbor had the same wind, but he knew how to trim his sails so that the wind conducted him in the direction he wanted. Never allow to yourself that you could not help this or that; and never say you reach anywhere in spite of circumstances; we all attain because of circumstances and no other way.”
We are victims by choice, not by design. We must come to believe that all things-even the awful circumstances we face- will work out as God desires, even for our benefit. And that our tribulations are often the roads leading to our intended destiny. We must believe deep in our spirit that in the storms of life God will never let us drown. Our goal as Christians is not only to try harder; it is also to trust God more.
Contentment is possible on earth- but it must be chosen. Starting tomorrow, as soon as you wake up, proclaim “This is the day the Lord has made; I choose to rejoice and be glad in it…come what may!”