Questions 97 & 98

When we trust* Jesus, God becomes our Father[1]. God welcomes us into his family. He promises to care for us. He shows us his care by blessing* us in many ways. Human fathers know how to give good gifts to their children. So does our Father in heaven.* He forgives us. He gives us his Holy Spirit.* He gives us wisdom and makes us new people. These are wonderful gifts. They are all from the hand of God. And God has given these gifts to men and women, slave and free, the rich and the poor.[2] All these gifts come to us because He gave us the gift of his son, Jesus.[3]

 

Some people think if we had God’s full blessing, we would also have lots of money. We would never be sick. And we would always be happy.

 

But the scriptures* do not say this. Jesus did not say this. None of the men who wrote the New Testament* say this.

 

And Jesus did not tell poor people that they were poor because God was not pleased with them. Jesus himself became poor so that he could do the work God sent him to do. James* said that many people who are poor are rich in faith*.[4]

 

Money is not always a sign that God has blessed* us. Jesus told people to be careful not to love money. He warned people not to depend on money, because it does not last. Instead, we must depend on God who is the same for ever.

 

Jesus said that wanting to be rich can make it hard for a person to follow Him. Jesus and the men who wrote the New Testament warn us that money can be a bad thing for us. James warned the rich that their desire for more money was keeping them from God’s blessing. Paul* said that if we love money, it can lead us into all kinds of evil.* God wants his people to be free from the love of money[5].

 

Jesus did not promise his followers* an easy life. He said they would have troubles. Jesus told the men who followed him that people would hate them. They would hate them because they hated Jesus first. We know that Jesus and most of the people who followed him suffered many troubles. Peter* was put in prison. Stephen* was killed. People threw stones at Paul until they thought he was dead. They did this because these men loved and followed Jesus. These men did not have trouble because they did not trust God. They suffered because they did trust Him.

 

But Jesus also promised great rewards to his people. Paul and Peter both said that when Jesus comes again, all of God’s riches will be ours. But those blessings come to us in heaven. A new heaven and a new earth will be our new home. And what God gives us there cannot be taken away.

 

So, if we do have troubles as Jesus and his followers did, how does God help us in our troubles?

 

God is with us in our pain. God has given us his Holy Spirit. He is our helper who gives us comfort. The Holy Spirit helps us to know that we are God’s children, and that God is a good Father.

 

God has also made us a part of a new family. We are a part of the church, the family of God’s people. God put us in this family so that we can find help and so that we can be a help to other people. God wants us to comfort other people who have the same troubles. We give them the same kind of comfort that God gives us.[6] He puts us in the church so that we can love one another. Encourage one another. And bear one another’s troubles. In the company of the people of God, we will find help in times of trouble.

 

It is a comfort to remember that God is in control of all things. He controls all that he created.* He controls the wind and the seas. He controls the nations. And He works all things, even our troubles, for His good purposes and for our good. Paul had an illness, but God used the illness to help Paul trust God more. Paul was beaten and shipwrecked. People tried to kill him. But he says this was all a part of God’s plan to spread the gospel*.[7]

 

Not everything that happens to us is good. But God uses even the bad things, as part of His good plan for us.[8]

 

Nothing can come against us that can ever separate us from God’s love for us. And no bad thing can come into our lives that can keep God from doing his work in us.


[1] Romans 8:15
[2] Galatians 3:14; Galatians 3:28
[3] John 3:16-18; 2 Corinthians 9:15
[4] Luke 9:58; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Philippians 2:6-8; James 2:5
[5] Matthew 6:19-24; Luke 1:18; Luke 12:15; Ephesians 5:5-7; 1 Timothy 3:3; 1 Timothy 6:10; Hebrews 13:5
[6] 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
[7] Acts 9:16; 2 Corinthians 11:24-27
[8] Isaiah 46:10; Romans 8:28; Ephesians 3:20