Monday, February 15, 2010
On having troubles...we've got plenty!
You know, as we try to hear God speaking to us through his word and to bring help to those around us; it seems that sometimes we just “know” that God wants us to minister to another person. So we offer a kind word or help in some way; and the whole thing blows up in our face! We end up being put down, or ridiculed,or you name it...it just fell apart!
So in shock, we back off and seek God to see what we have done wrong. We self-check and examine our hearts to see where we “missed it”. After all, we had to have been at fault if things didn’t go exactly as we thought they should have. If things didn’t go perfectly; we had to have been out of God’s good and perfect will.
But what if we were in God’s good and perfect will?
Let’s look at Jeremiah’s life for a minute. He was a prophet in Jerusalem for a very long time; God gave Jeremiah specific promises to help him, and to say what God instructed him to. But what happened to Jeremiah? Well, he was threatened with death, he was beaten and thrown in jail, he had to ask shady kings to protect him if he promised to tell the truth; He was thrown into a cistern up to his armpits in mud, and left to die; and ultimately he was dragged off to die in Egypt (where God specifically told the people not to go).
Yet when reading Lamentations 3:20-25 Jeremiah makes the amazing statement “This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is thy faithfulness.” He understood that we serve a merciful and loving God. But unfortunately we live in a fallen and fractured world. But through it all, all the evil and unloving people led astray; God is faithful through everything.
Remember what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men cast insults at you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely on account of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:10-12)
Mind you, I’m not necessarily saying we are all a bunch of prophets, but certainly there is no guarantee that being in God’s will means no trouble. Jesus was very clear of the hard road we have to travel on; yet he is faithful through all the trials and troubles. He will never leave us or forsake us.
“And who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and to not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ be put to shame. For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.” (1 Peter 3:13-17)