The Problem with Cursing the Sun

The Problem with Cursing the Sun

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God promised that life would be challenging because of the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:17-19), and all those who came from the first couple would struggle similarly (Romans 5:12). From the fall of humanity to the end of the earth as we know it, the promise of pain, suffering, difficulty, and personal problems is what it means to live in a fallen world as fallen creatures. It sounds gloomy because it is, but this dose of reality must be our worldview and baseline understanding if we want to live well in God’s world while avoiding the temptation to anger when things do not go our way.

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Redeeming Pain

We’re all under the curse of manifold suffering. From birth to death, the painful effect of the fall is ever-present. Even redemption through Christ does not immune us from personal problems. This reality is analogous to the omnipresence of the sun’s heat. Though retreating to an air-conditioned room can be a respite from a hot summer day, that is not a solution that will ultimately protect us from what the sun can do to us.

Summer heat and suffering are similar in that you can get a temporary break from either one, but you’ll never be free from the diurnal rising of heat or recurring suffering. Just as heat is part of God’s plan (Genesis 1:3), so is suffering (1 Peter 2:21), whose design is to mature us into Christlikeness, which is the redemptive purpose of pain, a blessing if we see it that way and act accordingly.

You are aware of how heat brings life to the plant kingdom. Are you aware of how the Lord permits personal suffering to mature you? (Cf. 2 Corinthians 1:8-9, 4:7, 12:7-10) Our kind and generous heavenly Father will permit—from time to time—unwelcome heat into our lives to protect us from ourselves. Yes, suffering has a self-protective element to it. Let me explain.

Humbling Effect

The intent of suffering is to generate humility that creates a unique dependency on the Lord. We begin to recognize our inability to fix our problems, which is the humble heart’s cue to see someone more able than us. Pain pushes us into the presence of the perfect One who can perform more powerfully than us.

The wise person realizes that their first impulse when suffering knocks is to let God answer the door. Of course, fallenness is always crouching at that door, which instinctively tempts us not to turn to God when trouble comes. In those moments, it’s vital to recognize that the problem is not so much about the heat as it is about what the heat reveals about us.

Rather than submitting to the soft heart that fosters humility, the heat in our lives can have another effect, a hardening one. Thus, the rule of thumb is that “heat reveals,” so when trouble comes, you want to first diagnose what your problems reveal about you before focusing on the problem itself.

  • When the Lord brings heat into your life, what is the effect on you: hardening or softening?
  • Rather than thinking about a specific episode where we all fail from time to time, what is your pattern when trouble comes to you?
  • You don’t want to ignore any trouble in your life, but you must not miss this critical diagnostic opportunity. What do problems typically reveal about the condition of your heart?

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Cursing the Sun

There have been a few times in my life when I yielded to cursing the sun, figuratively speaking, when the heat came. By responding in those moments as I did, it’s like a man standing on a mountain, cursing the literal sun because the heat was bearing down on his head. Do you recognize any foolishness in that kind of behavior? My initial impulse was not to see it as God’s active kindness in my life.

Flailing away at the sun will not bring satisfying results to your or your relationships; it will only intensify the problems and probably adversely affect all those in the vicinity of the sun curser. The sun curser can no more change the sun than the angry person creates joy and peace by his sinful response to his circumstances.

Perhaps discerning the difference between the sun curser and the humble heart will help. As you view this list, check the descriptions that best fit you. This brief exercise could be a time to express gratitude to God for His empowering favor on you or an opportunity to work with Him to learn what you need so you’re not that sun curser. Carefully assess.

When suffering comes:

  • One is mature. The other is immature.
  • One is humble. The other is proud.
  • One is perceptive. The other is ignorant.
  • One is grateful. The other is discontented.
  • One is wise. The other is foolish.
  • One is faith-filled. The other is fearful.

Test Me

A vital question is why do people respond differently to their situations. Why does one person curse the sun and the other perceives the Lord’s restorative work through the heat stressors of life? (Cf. Genesis 50:20). Perhaps I can illustrate my answer this way. If you submerge a sponge in a pitcher of water and take it out, and squeeze it, water will come out of the sponge. Why? There was water in the sponge. Rocket science, aye?

When the Lord brings a negative situation into your life, take note as to what comes out of your mouth (Luke 6:43-45). What comes out will give you an accurate assessment of the condition of your heart. There is hardly a better diagnostic you can take than to assess yourself when you do not get your way. Those moments do not permit you to work from a prearranged script. They come instantaneously, and your instinct is to respond, and a quick response to heat reveals your most authentic self—for good or evil.

Is your pattern to curse the sun when things become difficult, or is your pattern to perceive the Lord working in your life when things become difficult? Your normal responses to life’s challenges reveal the quality of your relationship with the Lord (and with others), and sovereign God loves you so much that He will not refrain from bringing heat into your life to help you become more like His Son.

One Final Pro Tip: There is a good chance that even the problematic people in your life are instruments of righteousness in the Lord’s hands to shape you into a vessel that is competent for use in His world.

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Call to Action

You have now completed this book, but I appeal not to set it aside. (I have listed the chapters for you below.) Throughout this book, I have asked you many questions. If you have taken the time to reflect upon them, perhaps do some writing assignments, and even talk to God and others about your responses, you have already experienced changes. What if you go back through it? Let this book be a workbook that you use until your cooperative work with the Lord and a close friend is so evident that people notice the changes. There are several ways to do this.

  1. Write out all the questions from all the chapters.
  2. Take as much time as you need to answer them. You’re not in a race. You want to overcome a habitual anger problem. Perhaps it’s a life-dominating sin. Be prayerful and reflective.
  3. Share what you’re learning with a trusted friend who will ask even more questions. Your friend must be courageous and compassionate. They will speak the truth in a courteous way.
  4. Find someone you can disciple or teach this material to a class. The teacher learns more than the student, and if you can teach these things, they will begin to own you, and God will give you victory over anger.

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