(Jnh 2:1-10) 1 Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’e belly, 2 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. 3 For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. 4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. 5 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. 6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. 7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy 8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. 9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD 10 And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
As we all can feel from the above prayer of Jonah inside a fish (Jnh 2:1-10), even when we are placed in a severely difficult time temporarily, if we do not change ourselves, we will be able to pursue the signs of glory of God through earnestness and repentance towards God who will save us. In order to reach closer to the bigger glory, we must not forget that there are many prophets, apostles and brothers who have willingly overcome the sufferings. (Php 3:10-15)
If Jonah the prophet, on his way to Tharshish after disobeying God’s command, did not wake up due to the ship running into a storm, Jonah would forever have become the one who left God.
(Ps 145:18) 18 The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.
(Isa45:7) 7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
(1 Pe 4:12-16) 12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part, he is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. 16 Yet if any man suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
Therefore, for those who realize that all these are within the works of God, sufferings are just the process to grow as children of God through genuine repentance, prayer, patience and refinement to return back to the right path towards the proper sign.
(Ps 119:67-71) 67 Before I was afflicted, I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. 68 Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes. 69 The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart. 70 Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law. 71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.
(Ro 5:3-4) 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
(Php 3:10-11) 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Furthermore, this process is a great opportunity to realize one’s own identity towards God as a true disciple of Jesus, and a period of special blessings when we look around us with a humble attitude, go against the temptations of Satan and give the glory to God. (Ps 119:157-168/2 Co 1:7-9/Jn 15:19)
(1 Pe 5:1-10) 1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
(2 Th 1:3-9) 3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; 4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: 5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: 6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; 7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
(1 Co 10:13) 13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Therefore, regardless of how dangerous a situation is, it ultimately is temporary and for those who overcome them with patience and wisdom, such situations are important turning points of their religious lives in which they experience spiritual growth through sufferings, glory that is to appear, miracles and grace that will transform lives.
(Ro 8:14-18) 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us
(Php 1:29) 29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
(Lk 6:22-23) 22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. 23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets
(Jn 16:1-4) 1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. 2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. 3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.
Through experiences of sufferings, we all come to understand the reality of our neighbors’ sufferings as well as the realization that the process to overcome the sufferings brings. The path of such realization, which is the earnest repentance and prayer stemmed from thirstiness, enables us to recognize that we must reach higher in our spiritual maturity taking place while we suffer. When we realize this, we are given an opportunity to get rid of all elements related to selfish obsession with truthfulness and genuineness.
(Lk 12:31-32) 31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. 32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
(Isa 49:20-21) 20 The children which thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the other, shall say again in thine ears, The place is too strait for me: give place to me that I may dwell. 21 Then shalt thou say in thine heart, Who hath begotten me these, seeing I have lost my children, and am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro? and who hath brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where had they been?
There are many cases in which the poor who seek God persistently push God away as they become rich and go through a process of becoming more secularized and reliant on money. We must heed that such materialistic mannerism may infect other believers like an epidemic and make them forget the essence of faith, leading to a spiritual destruction.
(1 Sa 2:7) 7 The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.
(Rev 3:17) 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
(Dt 8:2-3) 2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. 3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.
Also, as shown in Psalms 112, the believers who receive the material blessings must remember that God commands them to share their wealth and riches given from God with those in need and carry them out to fulfill the whole measure.
(Ps 112:1-10) 1 Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. 2 His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed. 3 Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever. 4 Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. 5 A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion. 6 Surely, he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. 7 He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD. 8 His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he sees his desire upon his enemies. 9 He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour. 10 The wicked shall see it, and be grieved; he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away: the desire of the wicked shall perish.
Therefore, many instances in which God rewards the believers who pursue genuinely God’s purpose with spiritual and material blessings are recorded in the Bible. For these blessings, in the day that our walls are to be built, all we have to do is putting God as the priority in our life as we can see through the book of “Haggai” in Bible as follows.
Though the book of “Haggai” in Bible is very short, it is really important contents to change our life, in which we place God as our priority. There is the economic principle of God for the kingdom and the priests of the Lord and Christ.
(Hag 1:2-11) 2 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD’S house should be built. 3 Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, 4 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? 5 Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. 6 Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. 7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. 8 Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD. 9 Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house. 10 Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit. 11 And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.
(Hag 2:15-19) 15 And now, I pray you, consider from this day and upward, from before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of the LORD: 16 Since those days were, when one came to an heap of twenty measures, there were but ten: when one came to the pressfat for to draw out fifty vessels out of the press, there were but twenty. 17 I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the labours of your hands; yet ye turned not to me, saith the LORD. 18 Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the LORD’S temple was laid, consider it. 19 Is the seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you.
This was the financial blessing that God promised to His people who performed again God’s work first when building a fallen Holy Temple. For these blessings, all we have to do is equipping ourselves with genuineness as the kingdom and the priests of God through the life in which we place God as our priority.
(Jas 4:13 17) 13 Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. 16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. 17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
Therefore, we must view the people of God who live in suffering with compassion, sympathy, empathy and spiritual communion. When we share their burdens as we feel certain that the sufferings will bring greater blessings of purification, we are able to participate in the kingdom of the Lord and Christ (Rev 11:15) forever as we wholly accomplish the laws of Christ (Gal 6:2).
Also, when we look after the needy and the weak, truly thank God and give him all the glory to fulfill our calling as the kingdom and the priests of the Lord and Christ, our cups will be overflowing with blessing and spiritual wealth and happiness will certainly be in our hearts of the spirit-filled, and we will reach a life everlasting with the crown of splendor obtained by that righteousness of faith.
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” (3 Jn 1:2)
(Mt 6:33-34) 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
(Php 4:4-7) 4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again, I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
(1 Th 5:16-22) 16 Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 19 Quench not the Spirit. 20 Despise not prophesyings. 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
(Zep 3:17) 17 The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.
(1 Ch 4:9-10) 9 And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. 10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.
(Php 4:11-13) 11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
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