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GROANING AND TRAVAIL EVERYWHERE

Delivered by ASE Joseph Olorunnisola, February 11, 2007.

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travailed in pain together until now” Romans 8:22. “For how long, for Christ’s sake, are we to wait on God?” exclaimed a Christian brother. Yet another, in fury lamented, “What exactly have I done to deserve this hurricane of problems from all sides, despite my devotion to God?” Yet another, in exasperation, said, “it appears that our God is no more listening to prayer – I have done all that is humanly possible; fasting, praying, worshipping…what else?” The waiting of many seems endless.

 

Voices of distress, lamentation, sorrow, dejection and hopelessness are evidently mounting high in all houses of worship. The faith of many are collapsing and the spirit of worship is getting increasingly thinned out. Why? Petitions of over five to seven years are yet to be answered. Yes, petitions over illness, over barrenness, over spouses, over joblessness, over residence permits, over stagnation, over tribulation, oppression, penury, forces of darkness…etc. The list is endless. Yet those who complain are devout worshippers of God, and true believers in Christ. Some are moving from one church to another in search of solution, some moving from Christ to Mammon/Satan, while some are combining the two. Others have totally resigned to their fate. Of what validity then is the call of our Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.”

 

The Bible teaches us that our triune God is omniscient, that is, He knows all things. No persons, actions, thought or prayer are hidden from Him. Your past, present and future and those of your parents are laid opened before Him. The Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind our thoughts. Our sovereign God hath said in Psalm 145:18. “The Lord is near unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of them that fear Him. He also will hear their cry, and will save them.” Behold, is the Lord’s hand shortened that it cannot save, or is the ear of the King of the universe too heavy or dull that it cannot hear?” (Is. 59)

Evidently, all the prayers of believers are heard by Him. On His own personal volition, he has invited you to bring all your problems to him – “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” – Matt. 11:28. He is faithful to His words.

His love and concern for us do not change, even if our pain has resulted from our sinful acts. Our depth and height in life have been pre-determined by Him, our wants and needs, trials and treasures, weakness and strength, scope and limitation in life have all been designed and established by Him. If so, why then the endless pains and waiting?

 

“Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath, for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like the garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner, but my salvation shall be for ever and my righteousness shall not be abolished.” (Is. 51:6) Though the Lord hears our cry, feels our pain and sympathizes with our grief, yet His word, His righteousness, His judgment and His ways will not be compromised, circumvented or ignored. The righteousness and judgment of God are the main attributes of His personality. Listen to His ways, righteousness and judgment as revealed to Moses in Exodus 34: 6-7. “And the Lord passed by before Him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in goodness and truth; keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgressions and sin and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and upon the children’s children, unto the third and fourth generation” Exodus 20:5, Deut 5:9.

It seems that your anguish or delay in God’s attendance to your problem could sometimes be traced to your parents, grandparent or great grandparents. The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge (Ezek. 18:2-4) Though the tragic consequences of sin and the principle of individual accountability is proclaimed by God in Ezekiel 18, yet the lives of the children of David, Saul and Eli remained a reflection of the irreversibility of God’s ways. Or it is probably due to your own sin. The anguish you are suffering is probably a way of chastisement by God. “My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou are rebuked of Him: For whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth and scourgeth every son whom He received” Heb 12:5-7. It is to return you back to the path of salvation. Probably, your waiting and anguish is a test of faith for your sanctification and certification for the book of life. Luke 21:19. Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, the apostles said that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. Act. 14:22. Sometimes it is to prepare you for a greater mission and glory, such as the case of patriarch .biblical Joseph. The good Lord has probably seen the goodness, commitment, and zeal in you for His name and He is therefore, removing you from an ignoble root/tree and grafting  you into a beloved olive tree – the elect, (Romans 11:17) in the same way that the biblical Ruth, the wife of Mahlon, a  Moabite, through unshaken faith, total commitment, loyalty, and submission to God, despite her early widowhood and childlessness, became grafted by God into the Olive Tree of God’s chosen people -  Israel. By God’s special mysterious design, she was subsequently married to Boaz. She bore a son who became the grandfather of the ever lived greatest king of Israel – David. Through this lineage also came our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Ruth 1 – 4.

Whatever might be the reason for your affliction, anguish, or delay in the receipt of your blessing, one thing is forever certain – it is the faithfulness and righteousness of God; that if you remain strongly faithful in the Lord, keeping His commandments, and worshipping Him in truth, the Lord will not only eventually answer you, He will satisfy you with the most enviable blessing and glory far beyond your imagination. He is God. Heb. 10: 35-39.

ASE Joseph Olorunnisola.

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