Days of Suffering – The Challenge of God’s Silence

By Karen Polich

Pastor Michael Cook brings us to Job 32. Listen to the podcast here. We meet Elihu who though younger, turns out to be wiser than Job’s three “friends” who have been speaking to him. Out of respect, he waited until they were done before speaking.

Elihu is angry but respectful. He is upset with the supposed friends as well as Job for his continual arguments with God as he struggles. It is God who endows true wisdom and Elihu shows wisdom despite his age.

Job has experienced deep loss and pain. Added to all of the despair is his frustration with God’s silence. But unlike Zophar, Bildad and Eliphaz, Elihu begins to speak words of life to Job. He questions the three “friends” for their words and speaks with great passion while remaining impartial.

What do we do when we feel like God is silent? Do we listen to all of the voices around us? Is God’s wisdom something we seek? What God has called, He will sustain. Even in the midst of opposition, God’s plan in our lives cannot be stopped by other people. We are here to please Him.

When things become hard, we may ask if we are really where we are supposed to be. It may seem like God is being silent. Has God placed a calling on your life that you are struggling with? Continue to seek Him, you may be surprised by the messenger He sends your way.





The Other Side of the Fire

By: Karen Polich

Sometimes life can feel like you’ve been thrown into the fire. A setback turns into more than simply a tough situation. The flames just keep growing hotter no matter what I do. Encountering stumbling block after stumbling block, difficult days pile up on hard times. Sound familiar?

Walking through tough times is never easy. Some may take the approach of “it happens, no big deal”, while others may decide that God must have abandoned them. Pastor Michael Cook reminded us that neither approach should be our focus.

When God seems like He is not making sense, know that He is making sense like never before.

Our perspective is not His. While circumstances might not make sense to us, we can choose to trust Him, despite the fire. Continuing his teachings from 1 Peter, Pastor Cook gives us three things to look for when we are in the midst of the fire.

Instruction in the Fire
Peter makes it clear that we should not be surprised by difficulty. A Christian understands that tough times are going to come. As a follower of Christ, we can choose to trust God, even when we are discouraged and don’t understand. God’s Word tells us to rejoice in the suffering! Have you ever looked at suffering in your life as something that belongs to Christ, you are simply the vessel?

Evaluation of the “Why” of Suffering
Sometimes we may suffer because we choose to serve the Lord Jesus. Other times we may suffer because we have made a stupid decision. Sin takes you to a place of suffering.

Explanation of Difficulties
Part of what we go through is separation. God wants to know our hearts. There are those living Godly lives and those who are not. This is everywhere, even among Christian families and in churches.

Like a great coach who prepares his team for anything that may happen, Peter wanted Christ followers to be ready for anything that might come into their lives. He did not avoid suffering, but kept his focus on someone higher and on the understanding that God will do and allow things for our good.

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. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God: And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
1 Peter 4:12-19

To hear Pastor Michael Cook’s complete sermon, listen here. How do you see the other side of the fire?

The Other Side of Difficult Days

By: Karen Polich

Difficulty can be described in many ways such as adversity, hardship, hindrance, or obstacle to name a few. Merriam-Webster defines difficulty as something that is not easy to do or deal with.

We all have difficult days. They can seem unyielding and merciless.

Pastor Michael Cook shared his thoughts on what is on the other side of difficult days.

God is supportive. You are blessed. You are blessed in the here and now. When hurting, spiritual character grows vastly. In times of suffering we tend to draw near to God. You are blessed all the way into eternity. You may be rejected by men, but you are accepted by God.

God has a word of instruction. Do not fear, do not be troubled. Regardless of what you face, you are called to move forward for the cause of Christ. You should be relentless. God pours His instructive nature of gentleness and respect into your life.

God gives a clear directive. You may walk through tough days, but Christ came. He came to sacrifice once and  for all. He came to bring you to God! Don’t be afraid, instead be concerned about the Holy One that controls the soul. God is there encouraging you.

I Peter 3:13-18, “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.’ But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.”

The other side of difficulty holds great promise. What might God be doing in you during the struggle?

Listen to Pastor Michael Cook’s podcast here.