Tuesday, July 11, 2006

ethical query

I still have three student loans to pay off, and each year I defer them because I still don't earn enough to have to pay them back. On the one hand, I will probably never earn enough to have to pay them back, so I could keep deferring them until after 25 years they are written off. Or, I could actually set a bit aside and start paying them off. I am unsure which is wiser stewardship. What should I do?

suffering v healing

Had an interesting conversation with a student friend this week about suffering. Why does God allow it? Why doesn't God always heal? Isn't it contrary to his character not to heal? Here are my thoughts:
1. It is right to pray for healing
2. We must accept that sometimes God chooses not to heal - not because we haven't enough faith, nor because we deserve to suffer - but so, therefore, because he decides it is best.
3. It isn't necessarily outside of God's character not to heal. If we are his, we will be healed one day, which may come sooner or later, and God is sovereign in his timing. To stick to his perfect timing is the most loving thing God can do.
4. We must allow God the right to decide when suffering begins and ends. The more I think about it, the more I think that a lot of good can come out of suffering. A friend of mine recently blogged, "Adversity reveals the reality of the human heart." One reason I don't like the fact that Anna is still ill is because it has revealed how impatient I really am. Whilst that is painful, it can only be a good lesson. And it is better that I suffer and learn that than not suffer at all.
So with Paul, "we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." (Romans 5) Or at least, I do this on my less sinful days!Also, if we must allow God the right to make the decisions on suffering, that is a sharp rebuke to those of us who don't like to think about the possibility of healing. So let's get praying for it!

Monday, July 03, 2006

God's grace in a box, but not boxed in

I had a massive tangible reminder of God’s generous grace recently when a rather substantial cheque came through the post from a friend, completely out of the blue. It soon became clear that God was providing this money specifically for me to buy a laptop – and a very nice one at that! It taught me a number of things:

- As Christians we don’t have to avoid material things - God wants us to enjoy them.
- God provides generously for our needs – not just so we scrape by, but so we can enjoy him.
- We can use material things to enjoy God.
- We can use enjoyable material things to serve God.
- And, surprisingly, I have artistically creative gifts that God wants me to enjoy, develop, and use for his kingdom!

My prayer is that each day I open my laptop, I remember God’s grace. It's right there sitting in front of me!