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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Farther Along: A Lesson In Understanding

"Tempted and tried, we’re oft made to wonder Why it should be thus all the day long; While there are others living about us, Never molested, though in the wrong" Tell the truth. This verse of the old spiritual bothers you, doesn't it? It represents the feelings of many who struggle in a temporal world in which bad is not necessarily identified and penalized. Yet, the refrain of the song following this verse offers hope. Refrain: "Farther along we’ll know more about it, Farther along we’ll understand why; Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine, We’ll understand it all by and by." "Farther Along" American Melody, Public Domain So much trust in your life is based on faith, not only on your worldly faith but also on your heavenly faith. The song implores you to "live in the sunshine," no matter of your inability to understand personal suffering caused by no apparent reason. The song's theme, though relatively simple, is often misunderstood. Pitiful situations such as being accused wrongfully by loved ones and living in poor conditions while others live in comfort with no concern for you are also addressed in the lyrics of "Farther Along." For those with little spiritual foundation, such conditions normally cause a tremendous loss of faith To those who think fairness is a guarantee in life, problems of inequality often destroy their once trusting and loving spirit. The song implores you to have patience and trust that the answer to certain mysteries is indeed "farther along." Here are some useful suggestions for accepting the challenges of life ( Robert Gonzales Jr., 2004 with reference to Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1982): 1. To live through the reality of God's dark providence first requires you to accept trials and suffering as obstacles of inexplicable mystery. 2. Then, without proudly presuming God owes you an account for all His providence, you must accept trials and suffering with trustful humility. 3. Finally, you must believe that even though God's covenant is that all people will face tribulation, all people will not suffer with the same trials to the same degree, so you must trust in God when you don't understand (distribution, degree, etc.). God intends the infliction of one member for the good of the community. In fact, if you are afflicted by God, you should feel a degree of honor and stewardship. God often uses those who "go through deep waters." He trusts them to become His humble comforters. If you have learned to trust in God, even when life hurts, you certainly have something to teach to others. Although some think that afflicted people are those who are made to suffer by God for their sins, God often chooses those who have undergone a dark providence to convey His holy message. Through their lives and words, these individuals motivate others to trust and follow the Lord. In a sin-cursed world, trials and tragedies are not extraordinary, but rather real parts of life. These trusted stewards help us all cope with mournful, even wicked realities of life. If you think God owes you an explanation for everything He does—if you believe that is your inalienable right, then you are high-minded and proud. "Becoming a Christian is like assuming the disposition of a little child. You have to learn to trust God even when He allows heartache and pain in your life—even when you don’t understand why... When God brings trial or tragedy into your life, don't set your own feelings or the opinion of someone else as a judge over God's providence." (Gonzales, "Trusting God When We Don't Understand: Psalm 131," 2004) So, "Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine/We’ll understand it all by and by."
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