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Responding to Trouble

The most important thing about suffering is not why it happens, but how we respond to it. Attitudes, not answers, are the keys to triumphant living. To know why suffering comes does not ease the pain or heal the hurt. But if we respond to it correctly, it can make us better regardless of its cause.

How we respond to suffering is entirely up to us. We do not get to choose our experiences in life. And we may never understand why they come to us, but we can choose our response to them. We determine how they will affect our lives.

There are at least five responses we can make to suffering.

1. We can become bitter. We can follow the advice that Job’s wife gave to him in his suffering. We can “curse God and die” (Job 2:9). We can blame God for everything that happens to us and become resentful, skeptical, and unbelieving.

2. We can sink into self-pity. We can feel sorry for ourselves and cry, “Why me?”

3. We can accept suffering with unquestioning resignation. We can take the attitude that whatever will be will be.

4. We can demand total intellectual understanding of all that happens. Good luck. 

5. We can respond to our troubles in faith. We can let them turn us to God. Faith is looking to God for help and for hope. It is believing in his love and power enough to ask him to help us. It is trusting him even when we do not understand why things happen to us.

This is the best response. Bitterness and self-pity will destroy us. Believing in blind faith or demanding total understanding will never satisfy us. But faith in the Lord will strengthen and sustain us.

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Paul W. Powell - www.PaulPowellLibrary.com

Today's Devotional

Why Wait Until Marriage?

In the old days sex was shrouded with three fears: the fear of conception, the fear of infection, and the fear of detection. Today those fears are largely gone. The pill and other contraceptives have greatly lessened the fear of conception. Antibiotics have greatly lessened the fear of infection, and the automobile has greatly lessened the fear of detection. With the old fears gone, young people are wondering “Why wait for marriage to experience sex?” There are three good reasons.

1. For the sake of others. I still believe one of the greatest arguments against sex before marriage is the possibility of a child. We must not dismiss the old fears too readily. Many, many babies born in the United States each year are born out of wedlock. In addition there are more criminal abortions every year. Babies need all the favorable circumstances they can have as they enter life. Growing up is hard even in the best of families. A child has a right to be born into a home where it is wanted and where there is love and security. God has entrusted to us the power to create life. It is pretty difficult to be causal about that. 

2. For the sake of your own mental health. Francis J. Braceland, editor of the American Journal of Psychiatry, said, “Premarital sex relations, growing out of the so-called ‘new morality,’ have greatly increased the number of young people in mental hospitals. [Reports]  indicate that liberalized dormitory rules and more lenient attitudes toward sex have imposed stresses on some college women severe enough to cause emotional breakdown.”

3. For the sake of marriage. Whatever may be modern attitudes, real or pretended, toward sexual “freedom,” one thing that most people want is a relationship that is sincere and permanent. Those who wait on sex until marriage have the best chance of a happy, permanent marriage. Studies made by the late Professor Lewis M. Terman of Stanford University have concluded that “of those men and women who have had premarital sexual intercourse, the more promiscuous they have been premaritally, the less likely they are to be happy maritally.” 

Why wait until marriage? For the sake of society, yourself, and others. And that is reason enough.

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