Tag Archive | praying

Praying and Praising Within Suffering

Paul and SilasMany people were disappointed when they were in trouble when they’re walking to follow the God’s will. Often they were quickly doubted God’s goodness even accuses God is vicious, favoritism and so on. No one of us wants to experience suffering in life, but there are times when we have to experience it, though not because of fraud that we do on the God’s word.

There are many reasons why God sometimes allows His children are obedient even to feel unpleasant things. Trains us to be stronger, make us more mature and wiser, we realize that is not dependent on own power and experience for themselves but on the power of God’s consummation. It is something that we can get it when the suffering is present in our lives.

I was remember the story of Paul who had a vision to go to Macedonia,(Act 16:9), Paul believes that what he saw was a call to proclaim the message of salvation to it region. So Paul and Silas went to Macedonia. What happens when they land there? The situation is not in accordance with what they think. They got the inhumane handling. Even worse, they are shackled and placed in the inner cell. (Acts 16: 22-24)

God is not fair? Perhaps it is in our mind when experiencing what Paul and Silas experienced at that time. But whether that Paul and Silas think? Are they grumbled? Disappointed and blaming God? Not at all! They even sing praise to the Lord and pray! (Acts 16:25) and there was a miracle of God that releases them from the stocks and imprisonment. Then not just freedom obtained through a magical way, but we also see repentance the jailer and all his family.

From this story we could see that the follow the Christ and obedient to the heavenly calling do not as well as necessarily ensure that we will one hundred percent safe from suffering. But see that the beautiful God’s plan will be fulfilled, where the problem is just a part of His “master plan” that promises a joyfully in the future. Paul and Silas did not protest, they do not question God’s decision; accusing God is wicked by providing such benefits for people who are obedient to His call. They keep believing and obey, remain strong to undergo their vocation vigorously even for that they must pass through a suffering and even persecution.

The Lord Jesus said, If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up their cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34) and the Philippians 1:29 said: For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him.”

I will end this post with questions to ponder together. Will we could be like Paul and Silas were still praying and praising God within their suffering? Whether we trust and believe that God already has a wonderful plan, full of peace to provide a hopeful future as it is written in Jeremiah 29:11:” For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.? Can we believe that God’s promise is still applies even when we experience suffering as Corinthians said: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”(2 Corinthians 12:9). Could we?

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” (1Peter 4:12-13)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”(Matthew 11:28-30)

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” (Psalm 46:1-3)


Photo credit: goodsalt.com


A Brother’s Hands


Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with eighteen children. Eighteen! In order merely to keep food on the table for this mob, the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade and any other paying chore he could find in the neighborhood. Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of Albrecht Durer the Elder’s children had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.

After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy. Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or, if necessary, also by laboring in the mines. They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to Nuremberg.

Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his brother, whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation. Albrecht’s etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his professors, and by the time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees for his commissioned works.

When the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht’s triumphant homecoming. After a long and memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfill his ambition. His closing words were, “And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream, and I will support you.”

All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed and repeated over and over, “No … no … no … no.”

Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly, “No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look … look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush. No, brother … for me it is too late.”

More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer’s hundreds of masterful portraits, pen and silver-point sketches, watercolors, charcoals, woodcuts, and copper engravings hang in every great museum in the world, but the odds are great that you, like most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer’s works. More than merely being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction hanging in your home or office.

One day, long ago, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother’s abused hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply “Hands,” but the entire world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love “The Praying Hands.”